The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele says the apex bank will continue to provide suitable platform for the discovery of talents for the country’s sports.
Emefiele spoke in Lafia at the finals of the 31st edition of the CBN sponsored Financial Institutions Football Competition.
He said that the apex bank would continue to provide the opportunity for the youths to channel their energy to useful ventures and be empowered to be responsible citizens.
The governor, who was represented by the Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor, stated this in a statement that some players, who had played at the competition, had gone ahead to become world class stars like Austin Eguavoen, late Stephen Keshi, Austin JJ Okocha and Nwankwo Kanu, among others.
Emefiele said: “I am delighted that what we are doing in tennis, golf and football is yielding positive result if we measure it against the quality of players who have played in this competition in the last 31 years and have gone ahead to play for the various national teams and big clubs abroad.
“We are happy that one of those, who played in this competition some years ago, Austin Eguavoen, who is our special guest today, went ahead to captain the national team, the Super Eagles and also coached the same team”.
Emefiele further noted that Nigerian sports would be better for it if the country could pay attention to grassroots sports development.
He urged Nigerian coaches to follow competitions, like the CBN competition and scout for players.
Also speaking, former Super Eagles Coach Austin Eguavoen, lauded the apex bank for its consistency in sponsoring the competition, which has thrown up some world class players over the last three decades.
“I played in this competition in 1985/1986 for ACB and when I was contacted to be part of this year’s edition, I did not think twice because of what the competition means to me and some of my friends”.
Eguavoen stated that the quality of play in the CBN competition could be compared to what was obtainable in the Nigeria National League (NNL).
He identified some players who he said would be recommended to coaches in the Nigerian leagues.
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Deputy General Secretary, Emmanuel Ikpeme, commended the quality of football displayed at the competition and praised the CBN for its continuous sponsorship.
The final of the competition played over the weekend saw Unity Bank defeat Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) 1-0 to emerge champions of this year’s competition and carted away the N2m prize money.
SEC pocketed N1.2m, while Tangali Micro Finance Bank, Gombe that defeated Azaber Micro Finance Bank, Ilorin, smiled home with N1m.
The Ilorin side also went home with N500,000.