After weeks of exciting sporting action, Fidelity Bank Plc has emerged overall winners in the 2016 Nigerian Bankers’ Games (NBGs). In athletics and indoor games, Fidelity Bank bagged 21 medals – 10 gold, 3 silver and 8 bronze. In a keenly contested football game between defending champions, Fidelity Bank Plc and 2015 finalist, First Bank Plc, Team Fidelity defended their title, emerging football and overall champions for the second consecutive year. Top officials, including the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank Plc, Nnamdi Okonkwo and Barbara Harper, Head, Human Capital Development of First Bank Plc, were present to cheer their teams to victory. Team Fidelity defeated the Elephants of First Bank Plc in a dramatic penalty shoot-out at the Legacy Pitch, National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos.
The final match was not short of talking points as loud roars of hundreds of Fidelity fans were punctuated by bizarre match officiating. It was indeed a frenetic start to the contest with both teams looking to get on the front foot when in possession. In the second minute of the first half, First Bank stormed into an early lead through a calmly dispatched penalty kick. The goal came after a First Bank forward latched on to a hopeful long ball but was impeded in Team Fidelity’s 18-yard box. The goal knocked the wind out of Fidelity Bank’s sail as Team Fidelity struggled to find any kind of rhythm to their game after the goal. Even when the momentum was on our side, contentious decisions by the referee deflated Team Fidelity. In a surprising move, Fidelity Bank’s MD took matters into his own hands by giving the players a pep talk.
Okonkwo also promised to reward the players financially if they upturned the goal deficit. The second half was a different ball game – a celebration of hardwork and the indomitable human spirit. The chants of supporters spurred the Fidelity boys on as they continued to play with aggression and real intensity. For the most part, the Elephants were pegged back deep in their own half as Team Fidelity pushed forward in numbers in search of a goal. Their performance was laden with deft touches, long-bursting runs as well as sublime dribbles. The equaliser finally arrived in 76th minute after the First Bank goalie failed to deal with a swerving free kick. Dimeji Oyefeso was on hand for a simple tap in after the rebound. The entire stadium erupted in wild celebrations. In the 3rd place match, the UBA Lions scored a lone goal against the Jets of Sterling Bank, becoming third place winners of the NBGs 2016.
First Bank and UBA received silver and bronze medals respectively. Winners in the chess, scrabble, tennis and table-tennis events were also awarded with gifts and medals. In the chess game, Fidelity bagged a silver and bronze medal. In the other games, Fidelity’s Judith Achonye and Afolabi Jane bagged gold and bronze medal respectively while Jerry Asuzu won the 100 metres and 200 metres events in the track and field. Okeowo Adebayo, also of Fidelity Bank Plc won a bronze in the 200m event. It was indeed a grand closing to this year’s NBGs which featured a novelty match between the Corporate Nigeria Games (CNG) hall of famers and Diamond Bank Plc.