Motorcycle polo has only a few dozen dedicated practitioners here, but they are convinced the sport is destined for widespread popularity. Because who can resist an activity that combines single-cylinder engines, mallets and beer?

It is similar to traditional polo, except it was born out of this country’s distinctive palette of characters, customs and resources.

Instead of horses, of which there are few in Rwanda, players drive and ride motorcycles, of which there are many. Along the slick roads here, in Rwanda’s capital, they are commonly used as taxis, and a growing number of young Rwandan motorcyclists turn up at competitions to show off and practice their skills.

The game has few rules. There are five players a team, opposing goals and 15-minute quarters with a “beer’s worth” break in between. The game is played at a frenzy — drivers goose the bikes to 45 miles per hour — as players jab and motorcycles fall. Spectators crowd as arguments ensue.

“I play with no fear,” said Chameleon Ngirimana, widely regarded as one of the sport’s best players.

Motorized Polo Gains a Foothold in East Africa -