In a season that promises more excitement and tougher competition, three banks, two returnees and a debutant are the highlight of Match Day 3 and 4 of the 2014 Nigeria Bankers Games, NBG.
Zenith Bank and Diamond Bank are returning to the tournament after some season’s absence and they go straight into the fray with fixtures against Ecobank and Fidelity Bank while the new guys are the Heritage Bank team that will be testing action in the tournament for the very first time since they began full licensed operations.
Ecobank goes into the first fixture of the day on Saturday with bragging rights as one of last year’s quarter finalists and would seek to intimidate Zenith Bank to annex all three points.
The West African sub-regional countries bank were edged out last season by First Bank at the quarter finals stage thanks to a Dimeji Bankole lone strike that decided the affair. Ecobank will be looking to get their first points against the relatively unknown Zenith Bank team.
In the second match of the day, Diamond Bank is up against 2013 quarter finalists and 2011 finalist, Fidelity Bank. At this stage last season, Fidelity Bank was the bank to beat as they racked up a run of wins before capitulating to Standard Chartered Bank in the last eight.
Fidelity Bank on the opening day of this season also took off to a good start with a 1 - 0 win over Standard Chartered Bank and would seek to avoid any blemish in their group stage stats. Yet another quarter finalists, Sterling Bank are paired with new guys, Heritage Bank in the last fixture of Saturday, 11 October.
Having lost their opening game, Sterling Bank will hope to give their campaign a boost against a Heritage Bank team that will be looking to spring a few surprises.
On Sunday, First Bank will face Cup holders and five times champions, Skye Bank. Both teams began their 2014 campaign on a winning note, Skye Bank edged Stanbic IBTC 1-0 in a repeat of the 2012 opening game, while First Bank also had the better of Ecobank in a 1-0 win. Last year’s losing finalists and former champions, UBA match up with 2012 finalists, Standard Chartered Bank.
It is an interesting fixture as both teams have finished in the top four of the NBG for the past three seasons, Standard Chartered Bank will however be looking to get all three points, having faltered against Fidelity Bank in their opening match.