By Olubori Oduntan
The recently launched Higher Institutions Football League (HIFL) now has a major sponsor and it is the Stanbic IBTC Group.
The league officially kicked off on Wednesday, August 1, 2018, paving way for the discovery of talents to hopefully graduate to the senior national team called Super Eagles.
Talented ex-Nigerian international, Mr Segun Odegbami, was discovered from the university when he played in the Nigerian University Games Association (NUGA) completion.
Stanbic IBTC, in a statement, said the sponsorship was in tandem with the company’s determination to help grow and develop a vibrant and productive youth population.
According to Stanbic IBTC, their involvement is equally informed by the need to foster unity among the youth, the future leaders, and development of sports as well as the economy using the HIFL platform.
“We are enthusiastic about our sponsorship of the university league. The sponsorship is in line with our objective to engage the youth in talent-moulding and character-building initiatives and our determination to contribute to the development of sports and by extension the economy,” Chief Executive Officer of Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, Mr Yinka Sanni, was quoted as saying in the statement made available to Business Post.
Organised by Green White Green (GWG) Sports, the maiden edition of the league will feature the top 16 universities from across the country.
The teams will play a total of 30 games over a 14-week period to determine the winner. The draws for the league groupings were held recently.
Explaining the rationale for HIFL at the draws ceremony in Lagos, CEO of the Green White Green, Mr Shuaibu Gara-Gombe, said the HIFL is conceived as a platform for students “to exhibit their talents to the world.” The participating universities are Obafemi Awolowo University, Delta State University, University of Benin, University of Lagos, University of Port-Harcourt, University of Agriculture Makurdi, University of Ibadan, University of Nigeria, Bayero University, University of Ilorin, University of Jos, University of Uyo, University of Maiduguri, Usman Dan Fodio University, Ahmadu Bello University, and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University.
The organisers of the league commended Stanbic IBTC for its boldness in sponsoring the HIFL.
According to them, the sponsorship will be invaluable to the success of the varsity league, even as they promised to stage the best football spectacle that will “convince our sponsors and indeed Nigerians that collegiate sport is ripe in Nigeria.”
This sponsorship is the latest in a long list of youth-centric development and empowerment initiatives by Stanbic IBTC.
Earlier in the year, the company organised a Youth Leadership Series, targeted at igniting and encouraging an entrepreneurial spirit among the youth. It also recently launched an Innovation Hub to serve as incubator for young thinkers to actualise their ideas. Stanbic IBTC assured that it will continue to seek opportunities to support initiatives targeted at developing the youth.
Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC is a full service financial services group with a clear focus on three main business pillars – Corporate and Investment Banking, Personal and Business Banking and Wealth Management. Stanbic IBTC belongs to the Standard Bank Group, the largest African financial institution by assets and market capitalization. It is rooted in Africa with strategic representation in 20 countries on the African continent.
Standard Bank has been in operation for 155 years and is focused on building first-class, on-the-ground financial services institutions in chosen countries in Africa; and connecting selected emerging markets to Africa by applying sector expertise, particularly in natural resources, power and infrastructure.
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