By Solomon Nwoke
IN a dire need to revamp the grooming ground for the countryâ€™s football talents which generated so much passion in the past, the Lagos State Government has partnered the Guaranty Trust (GT) Bank to bring back the glory days of the Lagos Principals Cup soccer championship.
At the media presentation of the competition logo yesterday at the state secretariat at Alausa, Ikeja, the
Deputy General Manager and Head, Communication and External Affairs GT Bank, Mrs. Lola Odedina, affirmed that in the next three years they would bring their guiding principles of professionalism, excellence and integrity to bear in redeeming the image of the Principals Cup and steer it back to its pride of place amongst sporting events in Nigeria.
Mrs. Odedina said the decision ofÂ GT Bankâ€™s sponsorship of the Principals Cup was in recognition of the Lagos State Governmentâ€™s holistic plan for sports and Youth development.
She recalled that in its glory days, the Principals Cup was a competition for future stars.
â€œToday marks the rebirth of a vision, a vision crafted 69 years ago. A vision that was driven by a need to foster camaraderie, academic excellence and unity through sports in our secondary schools. Many years down the line, the dream of the founding fathers was on the verge of dying with hooliganism and other forms of decadence being the order of the day.
â€œWe believe that it is with this in mind that the present administration in Lagos State, a few years back, commenced spirited efforts to revive the glory of this coveted competition. We intend to use the Principals Cup as a catalyst for positive change in Nigeria and we believe that the talents discovered in the next three years, under this unique partnership would go on to become beacons of what we stand for at GT Bank. We also intend to use the Principals Cup to keep our students in school and give hope to their families and communitiesâ€, she said.
A total of 313 senior secondary schools owned by the state and private schools are expected to participate in the competition which runs from November 30th through May next year. The championship kicks off from the districts and terminates at the Teslim Balogun Stadium Lagos.
Champions of the competition will cart home the sum of N1 Million while runners up, third and the fourth places will get the sum of N750,000, N500,000 and N250,000 in that order.
In her earlier statement, the Permanent Secretary of the state Ministry of Education, Mrs Omolara Erogbogbo who represented the Deputy Governor of Lagos, Princess Sarah Sosan thanked the GT Bank for their partnership and reassured of the stateâ€™s commitment to the youth development through sports.
She expressed hope that through this means several soccer talents that would represent the country at international competitions would be discovered.