On the bright Saturday afternoon of August 12, 2017, a curious set of footballers gathered at the main bowl of the Yaba College of Technology (Yaba Tech) Sports Pavilion. These players did not look like the regular lanky student footballers who often sparred on this field because some of them had slightly bulging bellies, which some Nigerians say depicts wealth, status and success.
The curious players, most of whom are older than those you would typically find on this field, were workers drawn from financial institutions, FMCG companies, IT firms, the media and other corporate organisations. They were representing their companies in the Remita Corporate Champions Cup, otherwise known as RC3 football tournament organised by fintech giant SystemSpecs to promote healthy living, friendship and competition in the work place.
In modern times, sports has played a major role in health and relationship management. The place of exercise cannot be overemphasised in today’s sedentary world. Research indicates that “the sporting ‘feel good’ factor has a significant impact on the world of work: individuals’ motivation, approach to tasks and relationships with colleagues.” As a matter of fact, ‘talking sport’ is a way of breaking down barriers between colleagues, customers and suppliers.
According to UK-based consultancy, Hudson, “Sporting conversations are regularly used by individuals as a way of demolishing social barriers in the workplace and as an in-road to the establishment of more productive working relationships.” It is believed that among colleagues, sport enhances creativity and promotes sharing of ideas.
In a survey which the consultancy commissioned, it was discovered that the majority of respondents suggest that employers and employees can make better use of sport to boost morale and productivity in the workplace. 50 percent of men and 40 percent of women suggest that employers could encourage staff to watch sport together.
Being actively involved in sport is also perceived as a good motivator: 45 percent of male respondents and 43 percent of women suggest that encouraging staff to play sport together – such as football, netball or tennis – would act as a powerful method of team bonding.
Approximately one-third (33%) of women and 36 percent of men believe that sponsoring staff who specialise in sport would achieve these aims. A third (34%) of men and 29 percent of women said that sport and competition could be used as the focus of team-building events. These findings were included in a report titled “The impact of sport on the workplace” and published by the consultancy.
What SystemSpecs, which owns Remita, has done is to tap into this new thinking and make the most of these research results which are becoming more convincing. What the top-class Fintech company seeks to do with its football initiative is to promote healthy living, friendship and healthy competition among people in the workplace. The company also seeks to use the series of football matches which make up this tournament as a platform to bring far-flung friends together in an environment that is free and open to the general public.
That match which kicked off the tournament on August 12, marked the beginning of the 3rd edition of the championship and saw the Remita Eagles lock horns with the football team of Stanbic IBTC.
Interestingly, at the end of the match, the bankers show that they are capable of other things apart from counting money and arranging finance deals.
In all, the 2017 edition will be graced by eight Nigerian companies drawn from the banking industry, Insurance industry, FMCG and the telecommunications industry. Organisations to represent these industries include First Bank, UBA, VConnect, IHS, 9Mobile, Leadway Assurance, FrieslandCampina, and Nestle, all of whom would parade their best players. Steps have already been taken to ensure that only employees of these companies are used as players in the interest of equity.
One-time goalie of the Super Eagles and tournament ambassador, Peter Rufai, is on ground and has noted that: “with all that is on ground, the 2017 edition of RC3 would be more exciting than all others in the past.” Rufai had in his company a number of other players.
This year, there is also an additional feature and attraction. Players, supporters and spectators of various teams will be allowed to have a personal feel of Remita Mobile App, a payment platform recently launched by SystemSpecs. For students and young people within Lagos, including the school where the matches will be taking place, it presents an opportunity to interact with the Remita App and to see how hard it is to play football when you have been a banker or any other form of professional for over a year.
Remita App has the capacity to aggregate the accounts of individuals scattered across several banks on one platform. It helps users access all registered banks either directly or via their cards, settle various bills, request money, split payments, manage t expenses, etc. For businesses, it provides a platform for HR managers to manage payroll as well as settle bills.
Each edition of RC3 comes with its own amazing surprises and there are already indications that this year will be even more interesting as we approach the grand finale of the tournament which holds on August 27, at Yaba Tech Sports Pavilion.
Badmus is a sports analyst based in Lagos