By Albert Akota
Banking giants, Zenith International Bank PLC has heaped encomiums on the Nigeria Football Federation for the progress the Federation has made with the Nigeria cadet teams since the signing of the partnership agreement between both establishments a couple of years ago.
The partnership birthed the Future Eagles’ U13/ U15 project, on the wings of the NFF/Zenith Bank Future Eagles Championships.
The heartwarming words of praise were showered on the NFF leadership by the GMD/CEO of Zenith Bank PLC, Mr. Peter Amangbo when the NFF, led by the its President, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick, presented the U15 National Team, Future Eagles, to its partners at Zenith International Bank PLC headquarters in Lagos. There were also 1st Vice President, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi and NFF Executive Committee members Aisha Falode and Ganiyu Majekodunmi.
Speaking at the event, Amangbo expressed delight at the work done so far by the Federation with regards to the Future Eagles, as well as the talents already produced through the project, whilst also encouraging the lads to maintain discipline and focus on their chosen careers.
“I feel delighted to have you all here. I want to thank the NFF for the great job they’ve done in the last few years. We have never had it this good. Everyone recognises the revolution that has taken place in Nigerian football. From today, you are now members of the Zenith family.
“Times are changing and you must start the right way. You all have a great future ahead of you. Football has gone to another level. For you to achieve your full potential, the most important thing is you must be very disciplined. If there’s no discipline and you don’t listen to your coaches, you will waste your talents.
“Those making waves today started like you, but to accomplish their goal, they maintained discipline. Have it at the back of your minds to avoid taking substances, smoking and drinking excessively as these are capable of destroying careers,” Amangbo said.
On his part, NFF President Pinnick commended Zenith Bank for being the first sponsor that came on board in his first year as President of the NFF, as he observed that the relationship has continued to blossom over the years.
He also joined in appealing to the top management of the leading financial institution to consider a proposal by Ms. Aisha Falode for the integration of a Future Falcons U13/U15 project to fish out talented girl footballers.
“NFF/Zenith Future Eagles’ program has helped achieve our dream when we were first elected four years ago. We thank the Chairman of Zenith Bank, Mr. Jim Ovia and the Board and Management. Without your support, we would not have been able to discover and raise what is now widely described as the future of Nigerian football.
“I would like to support the call by Ms. Falode for Zenith Bank to also invest in women football by adding a Future Falcons Project because it will help in promoting the game from the cradle with the girl child.
“The Super Falcons, by the way, are the most successful national team in the country, having won the Africa Women Cup of Nations a record eight times,” Pinnick stated.