First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Limited has restated its commitment to support initiatives geared towards youths, sports and overall national development. The assurance was given by the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive of the Bank, Mr. Ladi Balogun, during the closing ceremony of this year’s COPA Lagos Beach Soccer tournament on December 20, 2015. The tournament, organised by Kinetic Sports Limited and sponsored by the financial institution for the fifth consecutive year, took place from December 18 to 20, 2015 at Eko Atlantic Beach, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Defending champions, Cote D’ivoire retained the trophy this year, while the Super Sand Eagles of Nigeria came second. Koblan Assouan of Cote D’ivoire was voted as the Most Valuable Player. The tournament featured the national beach soccer teams of Nigeria, England, Cote D’ivoire and Lebanon. The Beach soccer teams of Barcelona Football Club of Spain, Kano Pillars, Shooting Stars Sports Club and Pepsi Academy; all of Nigeria, also participated in the highly colourful and entertaining 3-day soccer fiesta.
According to Mr. Balogun, the Bank’s interventions in the area of sports are aimed at developing the minds, body and abilities of the populace, especially youths, to contribute significantly to the growth of the country. ‘’The COPA Lagos Beach soccer tournament provides a platform to bring our customers, Nigerians, soccer fans, families, players and other stakeholders together in an atmosphere of relaxation, excitement and bonding which are very important to healthy living and nation building. This tournament has become one of the most exciting events not just this festive season but during the year’’.
He added that, ‘’Beach Soccer is becoming more popular in Nigeria. We believe that our sponsorship of the tournament in the last five years has helped to raise the profile of the game going by the large turnout of spectators and other dignitaries that have been watching the football matches and other lifestyle events associated with the tournament. We will continue to remain a strong supporter of initiatives that will create opportunities and equip our Nigerian youths for a bright future’’.
Apart from the excitement which FCMB built around the football matches, the Bank also treated guests and customers that attended the fiesta to a VIP treatment at its hospitality lounge. Among the dignitaries that registered their presence at the lounge were Lagos State Commissioner for Sports, Mr. Deji Tinubu; frontline sports administrator, Dr. Amos Adamu, Mr. Tilewa Adebajo, ace comedian Ali Baba. FCMB also hosted former personalities like Mr. Adebajo, Victor Ikpeba, Mutiu Adepoju, Waidi Akanmu, among others, at the lounge.
Guests and spectators were also provided with opportunity to experience the unique banking services of FCMB as the sales team of the Bank was on ground to showcase its array of valued-added products and services. There was also an ATM installed at the venue by the Bank for easy access to cash and other financial transactions. The tournament also witnessed fashion show and concert with performance from top rated artistes.
Commenting on this year’s tournament, Dr. Adamu, expressed excitement at the growing status of beach soccer in Nigeria and the support provided by corporate bodies like FCMB. According to him, “beach soccer has come to stay and it is growing. Nigerians now know about beach soccer and I sincerely want to thank the organisers of this tournament, FCMB, Pepsi and the other sponsors for living up to expectation”. Also speaking, Victor Ikpeba said, “this year’s competition was well organized and a memorable experience for me’’. He commended FCMB for its roles at promoting sports development. According to him, ‘’the action of the Bank demonstrates that it means well for the youths and sport, because beach soccer is an exciting game that has the capacity to effectively engage our youths to realise and fulfill their potentials. The involvement of FCMB and other sponsors in COPA Lagos have made the tournament more glamorous’’.
Over the years, FCMB has supported sporting activities that have wide appeal across demographic and socio economic classes in line with its value as a simple, reliable and helpful financial institution.