• We’ll make Edo Queens envy of female football clubs, says Shaibu

The Edo State government, yesterday, revealed its plan to build a special stadium for the Bendel Insurance Football Club of Benin. The state also unveiled a new set of jerseys for both Bendel Insurance and Edo Queens in the male and female premier league 2022/2023 season.

During a ceremony held at the New Festival Hall, Government House, Benin City, the Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, restated the state’s commitment to fulfill promises made to turnaround the fortune of its clubs to the envy of others in the country.

A the event, Shaibu, who is now the chairman of the two clubs, said the clubs are special teams, adding that the government will continue to treat them specially.

“We have broken the barrier by making sure both Bendel Insurance and Edo Queens get equal pay. The quality of the two teams’ jerseys is the same. They are the clubs in Nigeria that give out jerseys to other players at the end of every league match. At both Bendel Insurance and Edo Queens, they don’t wash jerseys to wear for another match.

“Another thing we do is that as the governor, deputy governor receive their salaries, the players too get their salaries. We don’t owe players their salaries. They also have the biggest match bonuses, which we pay immediately after every match,” he said.

He also disclosed that every year, there would be an Edo State Sports Festival to unearth more athletes for the state, while thanking the sponsors for believing in the state.

“The two coastal buses for Bendel Insurance and Edo Queens were bought through the sales of jerseys. The government is building a new stadium for Bendel Insurance, which will be a source of revenue for the club.”

Earlier, the Executive Director of Sterling Bank, Tunde Adeola, said the bank would continue to sponsor Bendel Insurance Football Club. “Sterling Bank will continue to sponsor Bendel Insurance because we believe so much in this club,”

Also, the sponsor of Edo Queens and Chief Executive Officer of Peculiar Ultimate, Olarewanju Adeleke, stated that he would continue to give more financial support to the team.

In his speech, the Edo State Sports Commission Chairman, Yusuf Alli, said: “Last year, when I was giving my opening remark, Bendel Insurance was in the Nigerian National League (NNL). Today is my second opening remark, and Bendel Insurance is in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).

“I am hopeful that by next year, when I’m giving my next opening remark, Bendel Insurance would have emerged champion of the NPFL,” he said.

At yesterday’s event were sports personalities that include former coach of Bendel Insurance, Alabi Assien; Super Eagles former coach, Augustine Eguavoen; IMC Interim chairman, Gbega Elegbeleye, among others.

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