.Edo first lady rewards Sheroes Champions

Edo State First Lady, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki, has assured followers of women soccer that the Betsy Obaseki Women Football Tournament (BOWFT) would continue to grow in numbers and influence beyond the current administration in the state.

Mrs. Obaseki, who called on more private sector support for the competition, noted that the tournament has kept pushing for the development of Nigeria’s girl child, using football as a platform.

Speaking at the mascot unveiling and draw for the 2023 BOWFT, themed, ‘End Gender-Based Violence,’ in Benin City on Friday, Obaseki assured participants and fans of adequate security and conducive atmosphere for the competition, which will feature 13 teams drawn from across the country.

In the draws held inside Government House, Benin,
Edo Queens, Naija Ratels are Remo Stars are in Group A; Nasarawa Amazons, Bayelsa Queens, and Confluence Queens make up Group B; defending champions, FC Robo, Fortress FC, Heartland Queens and Rivers Angels are in Group C, while Group D comprises Delta Queens, Ekiti Queens and Osun Babes FC.

Mrs. Obaseki noted that since its first edition, the tournament has continued to grow to the extent that world football governing body, FIFA, has recognised its impact in rl/child development.

She said: “This tournament is private sector-driven and it has nothing to do with the Edo State Government; it will continue to be held even after my husband leaves office.

“Sponsorship for this tournament continues to increase every year because corporate entities see what we are doing and they have begun to identify with the tournament. We got an award from FIFA for the tournament and this gave us international recognition.”

Betsy Obaseki said most of the clubs participating in the pre-season tournament play in the top female league in Nigeria except two others amateur teams from Edo State brought in to be groomed, trained and exposed.

“This is geared towards creating a pathway for girls to excel in this noble football career.
“The governor has fought to eradicate human trafficking and illegal migration in the State and this tournament has added value to that fight and today Edo State which used to be number one is nowhere near number 10.”

On other activities lined up for the event, she said: “The tournament also has a seminar on the side where speakers are brought in to discuss issues affecting the girl-child. In the first edition, the theme was “Promoting the Girl-Child”.

“For the second edition, the theme was ‘Fight Against Drug Abuse’ and this year, it is ‘End Gender-Based Violence.’”

The Edo First Lady, who received the trophy won by Edo Queens at the sixth Sheroes Cup organised by Ratels Sports Development Foundation, Abuja, rewarded the women team with N1 million for their efforts and gave them another N1 million to ginger them to their first victory in BOWFT, which kicks off tomorrow.

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