LCC-TS and Zenith bank: A successful marriage built on Tennis

By Editor on 07/10/2019

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Ujiagbe after receiving his trophy, poses with Oladimeji and Eguabor

“From the grassroots up to the elite class, we owe the commitment of supporting and sponsoring sports dearly to our hearts and for this tournament; we will continue to give support as the need arises. We have been sponsoring sports for so many years and that tradition will continue for a very long time.”

Those were the exact words with which Lanre Oladimeji, Zenith Bank Plc’s Assistant General Manager for Retail Banking, kicked-off the first edition of the Zenith Bank Tennis Tournament that took place at the Lagos Country Club between Saturday September 20, 2019 and October 5, 2019.  

Few would need further prompting to situate the outcome of that commitment at the end of it all as Oladimeji, and the bank’s spokesman, Marcel Eguabor stood at the podium alongside other dignitaries, to hand over the prizes to the winners of the event. Like the saying that the excitement of a dog manifests from the wagging of the tail, it was clear from the expression of the bank officials and their accompanying staff, who were equally on duty to ensure that everything worked out to perfection that not even their consistency in experiencing excellent outcomes could have prepared them for the mind-blowing success of the two-week event.

But it had to be that way and no other way. For one, Zenith is the giant in the Nigerian banking industry with a spotless reputation for excellence, panache and high performance all rolled together. For another, Lagos Country Club Tennis Section (LCC-TS), is the best place to play tennis in Nigeria with superlative, world class facilities that have come in place over time.

Besides the facilities, the tournament planning committee led by LCC-TC Chairman Seyi Adewunmi and Captain, Kola Asiru, who never left anyone in doubt that it would hand over the best tournament ever witnessed at this level of competitions anywhere around the globe, made sure it delivered on the promise.

Therefore, though it is a meeting of two giants playing individual and divergent roles, their decision to copulate, could not have resulted to something less, because a giant is not expected to produce a dwarf.

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So, after two weeks of grit, sweat, tension and energy-sapping sessions as the 80 players battled on the courts in the five different categories of the tournament, it eventually ended in the eye-popping and seat-gripping displays that got the spectators, some of whom were watching for the first time roaring intermittently.

Events competed in the finals played before a full capacity crowd watching at both the main pavilion and the VIP stand, were the Men’s Singles (A and B) Men’s Doubles, Women’s Singles, Women’s Doubles and Veteran’s Doubles.

The star match of the day was the Men’s Singles which saw Idemudia Ujiagbe, prevailing over Victor Ogbeide after a tension-soaking encounter that saw the two players go for broke but eventually ended two sets to one.

There after the duo of Segun Aluko and Kola Sofola stepped in to square up against John Atama and Akin Akirimisi for another gritty encounter, which, in the end, saw the latter winning the two sets of the best of three sets.    

Winners had earlier emerged the previous day in the other categories with Tunde Adeniji beating Adewunmi Adisa in the Men’s Single Group B category, Ayo Odia defeating Nimota Omope in the Womn’s Singles and also pairing with Imoni Akpofure to beat the duo of Omope and Martha Okosun in the Women’s Doubles category. In the Veteran Doubles category, the duo of Charles Aghadino and Joro Olagbegi defeated Innocent Abu and Ayo Olarenwaju.

The array of dignitaries from all facets of the society, including top players and managers of the game in Nigeria, on ground to witness it, also went a long way to pump up the value.

Even the heavens appeared to be in agreement this time that the spectators must be allowed to watch the best club tennis in Nigeria and had to advise itself on how to, first, water the ground with early morning downpour that petered into drizzles and thereafter, gave way to a beautiful tennis weather.

The event was not all about sporting, as it also offered the members, visitors and their friends the opportunity of further exploring the bank’s offering and services, which Oladimeji harped on during his closing remarks.

While congratulating the winners and losers, he urged them to take advantage of the bank’s services.

He said: “I thank the club, the participants, the winners and the losers. My heart goes out to the losers, because without the losers there will not be winners. Please take advantage of a whole lot of package that we have in Zenith Bank. You can see the boards. The SME facilities, you can take advantage of all the facilities. The bank has taken special care of our elders who are over 50 years. There is no reason for you to pay, for you to bank. We have a free package for you in Zenith, which we call the Timeless Account. You don’t need to pay any AMF, you don’t need to pay any money for cheque book, you don’t need to pay anything for it. It is completely free. It is a way of giving back to the society. Thank you for honouring this event and thank you for allowing us to sponsor it.”

Adewunmi, on his own told his audience that the success the tournament experienced was the result of intense planning and painstaking adherence to the rules at every level, while thanking all the participants and the organising committee, especially Asiru, the Tournament Director, for the great efforts he put on the job.

Describing the event as two weeks of fun, he said: “Tournaments such as this gives us the opportunity to keep fit at every point in time. In playing this tournament, there are some key learning we have to take. One, in everything you have to do, you must plan. Two, playing this tournament gave us the opportunity to exercise, including mental exercise and practice. Three, playing this tournament, we had to look for opportunities, especially against your opponents to be able to win your points. These are all the takeaways and key learning that we must use to face life out there in our daily businesses and activities.”

To Zenith Bank, he said: “You don’t know what you’ve done. This tournament has provided people the opportunity to network with one another and to be able to measure their skills and to climb on the tennis ladder. You have done a lot and we thank you.”

Indeed, the tournament, according to the chairman, is just one in the series of the high-profile events that would be coming to the club as the near future would be filled with activities, as the public had taken notice of the world class facilities it offers and were now ready to take advantage of them to advance the game in Nigeria.

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Ayo Odiah, posing with Oladimeji and Eguabor 

He told Whirlwindnews.com that the endpoint was to ensure that some of the high-profile tournaments that Nigeria had hosted in the past would make a return and for LCC-TS to be at the centre of developing raw talents capable of horning their skills to play at international stage.

“It may interest you that some of the people, who you heard their names as world champions, actually played tennis in Nigeria and in this particular court. We intend to bring back the old glory. We want to discover talents, horn their skills and export them to the world. We want the world to also look in our direction. We have done a lot in the area of upgrading our facilities. Nobody can look at these facilities and say they are below standard. We are going to do more in the time allowed us to ensure that not only do we maintain what we have, but bring in newer and better facilities. We want to ensure that as the world advances, we follow the trend so that whenever we’re called upon, we’ll be ready.”

To an equally elated Eguabor, very little words were required to describe the event. “I can just tell you that today is a good day. The tournament went well and everybody is happy. It is a happy ending indeed,” he told Whirlwindnews.com.

In the end, with the two producing strong planks, which having been nailed together these past two weeks by versatile thinking, dint of hardwork and resilience, a platform has just been formed. The foundation to support the huge edifice of a future Tennis World, this side of the firmament, is already taking shape. Many would say that the Zenith Bank-LCC marriage has worked. It is an alchemy that produced good results. Should the initiators and stakeholders call a party or just take a drink and call the party later? It remains a matter for the future.


 

 

Source Whirlwindnews.com

Posted on October, 7 2019

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