By Pricewill Ekwujuru
World over, football is a Â Â unifying factor, for this reason, many Â Â Â Â Â Â brands Â Â Â have had to align themselves to the realties of the game to connect to their target audience, either during major International or Continental competitions.
Today, what GTBank Plc is doing in terms of the Lagos State Principals cup sponsorship is another thing and theÂ educational development of those who ply the trade in the secondary school level is something of interest, as to the encouragement ofÂ grassroot football growth; and showing the way forward to youngsters who will either take to footballing or education.
Before now, the principals cup was the discovery ground forÂ footballers who had earlier uplifted theÂ country in international football circles, that had to die, may be the zeal to carry on the competition or those financing the project had to backout, but today, GTBank has taken upon itself the responsibility to revive the competition.
The principals cup history dates back to the 1940s, when C. Zzard company sponsored the first inter secondary school competition in Lagos, which was later known as Zard cup. The Zard cup experienced changes over the years and thus became known by its current name where the likes of Haruna Ilerika, Henry Nwosu, Samson Siasia, Stephen Keshi, Waidi Akanni and a host of others were discovered.
Why the sponsorship:
The bankâ€™sÂ plan for the game is different from what others have been doing about football in Lagos and Nigeria particularly, it intends to â€œcatch them young.â€™
Hear the bank, â€œWe want to adopt sport (soccer) as a tool to provoke academic excellence amongst school pupils. To create local football stars who will be the countryâ€™s ambassador to the international community. To create role models for society by participating in the discovery , career development and consequent economic empowerment of local football talents.
That was why the bank through Mr. Femi Adeniran of its Communications and Internal Affairs department further said, â€œif you term yourselfÂ a global brand, you have to respond to a clarion call. According to him,Â â€œFootball is the foot we have put out , the objective of the project is to add value and make an impact.â€
A major aspect of GTBankâ€™s sponsorship package is to upgrade sporting infrastructure in various participating school to date, 52 schools have been provided with branded balls, nets, corner flags, weeding lining of pitches and construction of pitch panels and upgrading goal posts, the bank said.
It is also expected that a complete facility overhaul would be carried out before the end of the bankâ€™s sponsorship deal, the bank management assured.
Speaking, Adeniran said,Â â€œthe project is to contribute our quota to the development of the educational sector , because itâ€™s not every child that will become a Doctor, Lawyer or a Journalist, we had to enter into an agreement with Lagos state to adopt the principals cup. We did this in order to grow the game and for the countryÂ to get the right under 17s, 20s, and 21s for future competitions.â€