The 2015 GTBank Lagos State principal cup ended in a grand style at Teslim Balogun Surulere, Lagos with Ikotun Girls smashing Oriwu senior model in a 3-1 thriller in the female final match while in the male category Birrel ran away with 4-2 penalty after one-a-piece at regulated time. From 615 teams drawn from secondary schools across 6 districts in Lagos state, Ikotun girls and Birrel Boys are unstoppable force in Nigeria’s grass-root soccer.
The “Smash all Barriers” of the prestigious secondary school tournament is an annual football competition geared towards the development of grass roots football. The discovery of young football talents fostering camaraderie amongst secondary students as well as helping students actualize their dream of becoming professional footballers.
According to the GTBank CEO, Mr Segun Agbaje, GTB is out to create a passion for young ones. His words: “What we set out to achieve for young ones is to create a platform for them to compete, develop and create values and work out a passion for young ones, not necessarily to raise professional footballers. If you look at the attendance today, we are encourage and we think it’s been a great success. We believe that one of the best places to learn the principles of hard work, competing values, is through sports and if they have those values, we are very sure, they will do well in life.”
For 6 years running, the competition has provided a developmental platform for young talents to be identified, nurtured and contribute immensely to the development of grassroots football.
Agbaje explained that the principals cup game started slowly. His words: “We started the Principals Cups game slowly, and now we have one in Ogun and Port-Harcourt. In order to do things properly, we need take time to invest the right resources, so that many ultimately will see the game getting lot more interesting. Ogun State Principal cups is as committed as that of Lagos state. I would like to thank the state governors of both states for their incredible support for the Principals cup.”
On his part, the Chairman of the Lagos State Football Association and the 1st Vice-President, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), x-rayed the importance of infusing a national policy to encourage football in youths. His words: “From the boys and girls, we observed the talents amongst them, but the issue is to harness these talents. The idea is to inaugurate these kind of tournaments and ensure they are infused into the national policy, so that we could have a pathway way which everyone will know and go through. There’s a difference between literate and illiterate footballers, and so we shouldn’t be left behind, that’s why we are infusing and trying to balance up education and football”
GTBank gave out prizes to winners and runner-ups as promised, ranging from 1,000,000 for the winner, to 750,000 for the 1st runner up, 500,000 for the 2nd runner up , and 250,000 for the 3rd runner up, accompanied by others offers such as immediate upgrade of sport facilities such as goal post, balls, post nets and corner flags in their various schools. However, for the girls, Ikotun High School, Oriwu Model College, Government Senior College and CMS Girls senior Secondary School had these gifts respectively; while for the boys, Birrel College, Keke High School, Ikorodu Senior Grammar School and Ifako Comprehensive high school had these gifts too respectively.
Speaking at the event, Salisu Anu an SS2 student from Ikotun High School and Most valuable player said “I’m very happy to have helped my school lift GTBank Principal Cup 2015. I really appreciate my parents for standing by me when I started my football career as early as 7years.” The young lady who had a brace for the finals, appreciated her parents further in her words, “Thank you for standing by me for the past 8years while achieving my dreams. I pay raft attention to both my academics and football because I know in the nears future, I will be playing for super falcons which I believe will take me to next level in life as I look forward to playing like my role model, Lionel Messi.”
The CEO, GT Bank reiterated that they are happy because the quality of football has been high, and there hasn’t been any cheating so far in this year’s edition.
The bank also complement the principal cup tournaments with an annual residential coaching programme known as CAMP GTBANK which was designed to discover, sharpen and cultivate the skills of outstanding talents of the GTBANK Lagos state Principal cup and master cup, drawing on the experience of the top coaches from European clubs.
This grass root development career development in the country shows Guaranty Trust Bank PLC is one of the few Nigerian financial institutions that that have maintained a defined corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy since it's inception in 1990. The Bank actively supports in classroom and out of classroom educational programmes, infrastructure development, students scholarship and teacher trainings across Africa.