FIRS beat SEC, win CBN football tourney

ThankGod Ikeagwu’s 20th minute goal in the final against Securities and Exchange Commission crowned Federal Inland Revenue Service FC champions of the 35th All-Financial Institutions Football Competition organised by the Central Bank of Nigeria, in collaboration with the Nigeria Football Federation.

The keenly contested final, which held at the Pantami Stadium, Gombe on Saturday night, kept fans on their toes, but FIRS held on after their early goal to clinch a hard-fought 1-0 as well as the title and the star prize of N2m.

Runners-up SEC received N1.5m, while Unity Bank, who emerged third after defeating Bubayero Microfinance FC in the losers final, were given N1m.

Speaking shortly after the event, Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, who was represented by Shehu Alhaji-Goringo, expressed continued support for the competition, following its far-reaching impact.

“Since its inception in 1979, the AFIFC has become a significant tournament among financial institutions in Nigeria, particularly as it creates an opportunity for social interaction among financial institutions and regulators, as well as facilitate the promotion of harmony in Nigeria’s financial system,” Emefiele stated.

While enumerating the importance of the event, Emefiele added, “The competition, over the years, has also served as a grooming ground for young football-playing bankers to become full professionals and national team players. It is on record that some of our decorated football heroes such as Nwankwo Kanu, Henry Nwosu and Stephen Keshi of blessed memory participated in this competition.

“As part of our corporate social responsibility, the bank remains committed to making positive contributions towards the promotion and development of football and other sporting competitions such as golf and tennis.”

Also speaking, Gombe State Governor, Muhammadu Yahaya, who was represented by Chairman, Gombe Sports Commission, Larry Daniel, lauded the CBN for hosting the final in Gombe State.

“We must thank the organisers because this is an opportunity and grace given to Gombe to play the final of this competition here.”

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