Thrilled by the atmosphere created by Bendel Insurance’s supporters during last weekend’s CAF Confederation Cup first round game between the Benin Arsenal and Algeria’s Aso Chlef, Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has assured sports lovers of sustained investment in the sector.
The governor said the fans were the 12th player on the pitch as Bendel Insurance beat the Algerian team 1-0 in the tension-soaked encounter. Appreciating the fans for coming out to support the team, Chairman, Edo Sports Commission, Yusuf Alli, who represented the governor, said: “We extend our heartfelt appreciation to our incredible supporters, who turned out in overwhelming numbers to cheer Bendel Insurance to victory.
“The sight of the crowd, larger and more passionate than ever before, was truly remarkable and inspiring, and we are confident that the team will not disappoint you in the next leg of the encounter in Algeria. We thank you for making this a historic and unforgettable moment for all of us.”
Football enthusiasts, fans and other residents of Edo State described the game as electrifying, with many commending the Benin Arsenals for the exhilarating performance and the state government’s commitment to sports development.
According to them, the 90 minutes of action-packed football was a rollercoaster of thrills, emotions, and electrifying moments that left fans, who had bursts of excitement watching continental action for the first time in about 18 years, on the edge of their seats.
The excitement reached a crescendo in the 41st minute of the first half when Bendel Insurance’s centre forward, Imade Osarenkhoe, finished off a sweeping move after a rebound, amid cheers and roars that filled the 12,000 capacity stadium to the brim.
The beautiful yellow colours of Bendel Insurance illuminated every corner of the stadium and across the city centre. Adding another layer of excitement to the weekend was the government’s provision of free bus ride, which transformed the journey to the stadium into a communal celebration.
The buses, branded with the vibrant colours of Bendel Insurance, paraded through the streets, ferrying fans and football lovers from various corners of the city, adding a vivid hue of coloration to the city’s scape that was in expectant and celebration mood as they waited the start of the game.