to build new stadium, hostel for state-owned team, more funding
By Esho Ayemoba
The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, on Thursday, congratulated the management, players and supporters of Bendel Insurance team for their feat at the just-concluded Nigeria National League (NNL) Super 4 tournament, reassuring the government’s continued support for the state-owned football team.
Bendel Insurance FC emerged champions of the NNL Super 4 tournament after defeating Doma United FC of Gombe State 2-1 at the finals, played at the Samson Siasia Stadium in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
Obaseki, while receiving the NNL trophy at the Government House in Benin City, hailed the team for their unbeaten run at the tournament.
He said, “We will continue to support and encourage you for this great feat you have achieved. We must begin to look at how to build a permanent stadium for you, as well as a hostel and other facilities for camping you. We would work with the deputy governor to make sure we commence the building when the budget is passed.
“In terms of remuneration, especially now that you are in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), it’s only fair that your remuneration should be adjusted. We will also work with the deputy governor so that your rightful dues will be given to you.
“We know that you will be travelling a lot this season and to ease your stress, we will be buying you a new bus. We will also help the supporters Club with another bus to enable them travel with you across the country and continue to support the club.”
Reassuring the government’s commitment to sports development, the governor further noted, “My administration promised in 2016 that we will bring back sports and make the state an envy of all in terms of sports in Nigeria. We have kept our promise in terms of lifting the club to where it is today.
“We worked hard to change the way sports is handled in Edo State. We created the Edo Sports Commission, refurbished the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, built 20 mini stadia across the state and identified other facilities, either federal or state, refurbishing them to enable us to have venues for sporting activities.
“We also ensured that sports is a vital component of our curriculum in schools to enable us to catch them young. These are some of the steps we took to ensure we become the number one sporting state in the nation. This victory of Bendel Insurance has shown that we are gradually getting there.”
Obaseki added, “For us to sustain what we are doing and where we are going, we can’t continue to rely on the government. Our goal is to present you to the world and show how good you are for corporate organisations to invest in Bendel Insurance.”
Presenting the trophy to the governor, the Edo State Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu, said, “The government has done well as the club is the best in terms of football kits in Nigeria. The club has been consistent since the rebranding of the club four years ago. It has been exposed both to national and international games and competitions.”
Other guests at the occasion include the Permanent Secretary, Edo State Sports Commission, Sabina Chikere; Head Coach of Bendel Insurance, Monday Odigie and the Chairman, Edo Sports Commission, Yusuf Ali, among others.