The encounter which attracted capacity crowd that included some old boys of both colleges was the climax of a month-long GTBank sponsored Masters Cup tournament, organised by the Lagos First Generation Heritage Colleges Association.
The Season 4 of the prestigious football tournament commenced in November 2014 with 20 Male teams and 10 female teams from participating schools, Queens college and St Gregory showed they are force to reckon with in building tomorrows leader through football.
The atmosphere was electric when the girls – Queens College, Yaba and Ansar Ud Deen Girls High School, itire – filed out to play. Ansar UD-Deen, Itire was the only school to have played in three consecutive finals. This is the second time both sides will be playing at the GTBank Masters Cup Finals and both teams were ready for the face off. But Ansar Ud Deen Girls drew the first blood 14 minutes into the game when Durojola Zainab pounced on rebound that Adefunke Adeleke of Queens College replied immediately too.
Moments later, Ansar Ud Deen Girls Captain – Fatima Oyebanji gave the Ansar Ud Deen Girls the lead again. However, Ebere Ugohagbulam proved that the game is not over yet as She equalized minutes before the first half break and it was level at half time.
It all looked like it will end in penalties just like last year but Ebere struck again minutes before the full time whistle and that snatched the trophy from Ansar Ud Deen Girls High School for the second consecutive time. The game ended 3-2 in favour of Queens College who are the first female team to successfully defend the GTBank Masters Cup title.
Speaking at the event, the queens captain Inneji Chinasa Devo, an SS2 science student said “ I’m very happy to have helped my school lift the trophy this year. Am grateful to God, GTBank, for helping me showcase my talent and most especially my brothers who helped me developed my football career at early as 3 years old. My football career started when I was called upon as early as JSS 1 to play for the school team. Initially my parents were not in supportive because they felt am a lady but when they saw the zeal and passion, they let go of me. As a science student, I was able to balance up because I knew I needed my academics to survive in life. The young also said “I would love to develop my football career so as to be like Shola Adiza who plays for Falconet She advised others like her to remain focus and stick to their dreams for better result.
Dignitaries from all spheres of lives came to grace the occasion, ranging from: MD GTBank Mr Segun Agbaje, Mr Demola Adeyemi- Executive Director GTBank, Mrs Lola odedina; General Manager Communications and External Affairs Group-GTBank and Oyinade Adegbite- Senior Manager Communications and external Affairs Group, GTBank
Alumni of the schools like Rev. Ayeni- Administrator of St Gregory College, Justice Bode Rhodas –Justice of the supreme court of Nigeria and St Gregory’s college old boys, Bashorun Anthony (DC)- President St Finbarrs College old Boys Association, Mrs Nkoli Ogbolu- Secretary Queens College old Girls Association, Mr Ayo Adewale- Former Chairman Amuwo Odofin Local Government and St Gregory’s Old Boys Association also came to add colours to the game.
Also in attendance are: Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi- Chairman, Lagos State Football Association and 1st Vice President Of The Nigerian Football Federation, Mr Paul Bassey- Veteran Sports Journalist, Mrs Babs Akinyeye- Director, Coordinator services Ministry of Education, Lagos State and Otunba Oladele Olapeju- Chairman, Lagos First Generation Colleges Association (LAFGHCA).
Then the boys came out to play. The match that was dubbed the ‘El Catholico’ was between the two most successfully schools in the history of secondary school football in Nigeria – St. Gregory’s College, Ikoyi and St. Finbarr’s College, Akoka. The first 10 minutes of the game was intense but
the deadlock was broken through Ayoka Kingsley shot that found the back of the net. But the Gregorians were not fazed. They got the much needed equalizer in the 23rd minutes and also scored 4 minutes later to lead at half time.
St. Gregory’s dominated through the second half as St. Finbarr’s College tried to break through their ranks all to no avail. Obi David finally sealed it for St Gregory’s College when his superb effort ended up in the back of the net to make it 3-1 at full time. St. Gregory’s College, Ikoyi are GTBank Masters Cup Champions for the first time.
The Gtbank MD stated “putting our youths in a position to win and excel does not start on the playing field. It begins in the mind, then the classroom before the final stage of the playing field. In the new global competitive landscape, winning requires discipline, focus, creativity and a sound mind. Education must be an integral part of the whole developmental process. That is why, Gtbank is committing a greater amount of time, resources and high level personnel to youth soccer as well as education, especially at the youth and secondary school level.”
The bank gave out prizes to winners and runner-ups as promised, ranging from N750,000.00, N500,000.00 and N350,000.00 for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners respectively in both the male and female categories. On the male category, 1st – St. Gregory’s College, Ikoyi, 2nd – St. Finbarr’s College, Akoka and 3rd – Western College, Yaba while on female category 1st – Queens College, Yaba, 2nd – Ansar Ud Deen Girls High School, Itire and 3rd – Ansar Ud Deen College, Isolo
Guaranty Trust Bank plc is one of the few Nigerian financial institutions that have maintained a defined Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy, most especially in sports education. The GTBank Masters Cup, as well as the Principals Cup tournaments in Lagos and Ogun states, are some of the projects the bank has taken up in this regards.