As sponsors of the prestigious Principals Cup tournament, Guaranty Trust Bank plc went a step further to help realise the dreams of the young male and female footballers through Camp GTBank, a one-week summer football camping exercise organised for 25 youngsters at the serene surroundings of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, under the instructions of a foreign coach from Fulham FC of England, David Penney and four Nigerian coaches- Yisa Sofoluwe, Waidi Akanni, Ann Agumanu-Chiejine and Bankole Olowookere.
Speaking on why the Bank created the Camp, Lola Odedina, Group Head, Communication & External Affairs at the Bank explained that it was Bank’s way of ensuring that players discovered through the tournament proper are holistically developed in all areas of the game for their benefit.
David Penney, the chief coach at the camp also had words of commendation for the four local coaches and the players. He said, "This camp can only be the beginning of greater things. We need to carry on with this kind of program and make sure that Nigerian players have well developed football brains."
Yinka Sofoluwe, an ex-international and also a coach at camp GTBank was of the view that the programme will revive the dwindling fortunes of the national team. "We have lost all the foundations of our game. The skills needed to get the ball under immediate control, make runs off and on the ball - these are the attributes that are missing in our players and they are letting us down. If we can get it right from this point then the future can be brighter again", said Sofoluwe
One major distinction of the 2009/10 season of the GTBank sponsored tournament is call-up of four players to the new Nigerian U-17 team under John Odigie, and two players to the Lagos state football team.
Camp GTBank is the Players’ Development Programme of the Guaranty Trust Bank sponsored Lagos State Principals Cup.
CATCHING THE LIMELIGHT
One player who has used the occasion of the 2010 Principals Cup to catch the limelight is Ibrahim Jamiu, a student of Gaskiya Senior College in Lagos. He has been invited into the U-17 national camp on account of his exploits.
[see pictures from CampGTBank here http://www.flickr.com/
On his experience, Jamiu Ibrahim had this to say: "It has been a worthy experience and I thank Coach Odigie for allowing me to make the trip. The training has been very nice; the surroundings have been a welcome change from the Lagos scene. The coaching has been great and what I have learnt in the days that I have been here will benefit me in the national team. As a striker, I need to know more about positioning to help me get the goals for my team and that is one of the things that I have learnt here and I will be a better player when I get back to the national camp."
Another beneficiary of Camp GTBank is Nene Pius, a slim and very shy 16-year old, who says she is just happy that her skills are being recognised. "You know that it is a challenge to play football as a female but I have to thank my parents who after some fight agreed to let me pursue my dream. Now I am in this camp and I hope to make it into one of the national camps very soon", she said.
"We wanted to do much more than sponsor the tournament. This camp is like going the extra mile for the talents that were exposed during the competition."
visit http://www.gtbank.com for more details
# # #
Established in 1990, Guaranty Trust bank has grown organically to become one of Africa's foremost Financial institutions operating from over 200 locations in Nigeria, Ghana, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia and the United Kingdom.
The Bank is synonymous with innovation, excellent financial performance, superior customer service and its social responsibility thrust.