Bendel Insurance Football Club of Benin began the 2022/23 Nigeria Premier Football League season that started January 8, 2023, on a bright note as they shocked Akwa United 2-0 in front of their home fans at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo.

Next, Bendel Insurance Football Club of Benin, on Thursday, January 19, defeated visiting Plateau Utd 2-1 to secure three maximum points at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, to remain comfortable in Group A with six points from two games.

To date, the NPFL Group A Leaders, Bendel Insurance, have continue to extend their unbeaten run in the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) to 14 games played (W7, D7, L0) with 28 points.

It is pertinent to state that the 2023 NPFL season will run an abridged format, seeing two groups of ten teams each, all playing eighteen games apiece, before a round of Super Six clash to determine the Champion of the tournament.

Notwithstanding, Coach Monday Odigie and his boys are already on the run way – with their games of unbeaten run record.

Early on January 6, 2023, the Nigerian Observer Sports reported that, ahead of Sunday, January 8, 2023 kick-off of the 2022/2023 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season, the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the NPFL presented a total sum of N200 million to the 20 clubs that will compete in the season.

Each of the clubs received N10 million as a form of financial support ahead of the abridged football season scheduled start date.

The winner of the 2023 abridged league is poised to win ₦100 million prize as announced by the IMC at the start of the season.

Today, Saturday April 22, 2023, Bendel Insurance play host to El Kanemi Warriors FC at the prestigious Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City, and the kick off time is 16:00 (GMT +1), that 4:00pm Nigerian time.

Both teams are in the NPFL Group A. Bendel Insurance FC had played against El Kanemi Warriors in the first leg of this season. Currently, Bendel Insurance FC rank 1st, while El Kanemi Warriors hold 10th position.

The NPFL Group A Leader’s successful outings with vivid unbeaten run record can be attributed to the Governor Obaseki led administration’s immense contributory roles, and the government’s encouraged platforms for private partnership supports, which include:

The Edo State Deputy Governor Comrade Philip Shaibu, on Wednesday, January 11, 2023, in a colourful ceremony at the new Festival Hall, Government House, Benin City, unveiled new sets of dri-fit quality jerseys for Bendel Insurance and Edo Queens Football Clubs, both of Benin. Shaibu made a commitment to work towards raising the performance and profiles of both clubs to global standard in the foreseeable future.

In his speech, Tunde Adeola of Sterling Bank commended the Edo State Government for its vision towards human capacity building.

Adeola maintained that Sterling Bank would continue support sports development and be part of the success story of the Obaseki administration in Edo State.

Also, Super Eagles Manager, Jose Peseiro expressed satisfaction with the standard of facilities at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City when he visited on Sunday, February 5, 2023.

The foreign manager of the national team was speaking after inspection of the facility on Sunday afternoon in Benin, noting that the facility is world class and that the maintenance is superb.

The Super Eagles manager who was at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in company of some NFF officials including the Federation’s Technical Director, Austin Eguavoen, watched Bendel Insurance vs Gombe United NPFL week six match in Benin on Saturday and visited the Stadium again the next day to inspect the facility.

He commended the Edo State Government and the Sports Commission’s team over the standard of infrastructure and maintenance culture already in place.

Recently, on April 7, 2023, The Nigerian Observer Sports reported that Edo State Government has taken a positive step towards the implementation of the law establishing the Edo State Sports Commission in the 18 Local Government Council Areas.

Deputy Governor, Rt Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu, said it will encourage the development of sports at the grassroots. Shaibu, therefore directed the concerned stakeholders to spring into action.

The Deputy Governor charged the State Sports Commission and the Heads of Administration of the 18 Local Government Councils to ensure the immediate establishment of the Sports Committee in each local government area.

According to the Deputy Governor, “The state Governor, Mr. Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki, has mandated the Edo State Sports Commission to produce 10,000 athletes, cutting across all sports in the 37 sports in Edo within the next five years. He however clarified that Edo State would prioritise 17 sports.

“We are making all efforts to ensure the private sector is encouraged to take over sports development in Edo State”, Shaibu added.

In his remark, the chairman of Edo State Sports Commission, Yusuf Ali, noted that the commission recently received commendations from FIFA’s representatives who were on an inspection tour of Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium. He pointed out that the solid infrastructure on the ground at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium makes CAF and FIFA consider Benin for their events.

Meanwhile, the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, while commending the performance of Bendel Insurance Football Club as the team ended Match Day 13 against visiting Kwara United with a draw, noted;

“We are not wrong in choosing sports as our priority back in 2016 when we were campaigning. I said sports will be a major area of focus and that the deputy governor will lead our initiative in sports. Thank God we did not make a mistake as these facilities were not in existence in 2016 in this form but today, we have world class facilities that can host world events. Our priority is to put this facility to use, ensuring we host more events here.

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“The tartan tracks you are standing on are certified and have the same quality of tracks used in the last Olympics. Our priority now is to get our citizens to take advantage of the investment we have made in sports and utilize these facilities and encourage school sports to catch our children young and also to encourage them to do more sporting activities.

“That was why I attended inter-house sports activities for primary school. We will do more of this to let parents know that it’s important to keep our children physically, mentally and spiritually fit.”

On his part, the state deputy governor, said; “The governor has given us a target and mandate for Bendel Insurance to play in intercontinental games. The starting point is to win the league and super six. With this draw, it’s clear that we have qualified for super six. Our focus now is to prepare for super six and meet the target the governor gave us.”

The Nigerian Observer Sports reports of January 31, 2023, revealed that Eguavoen, fans commended Edo State Government over the progress made by Bendel Insurance, while tasking players on commitment.

In the report, the Technical Director, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and former Bendel Insurance FC player, Austin Eguavoen commended Edo State Government and the management of Bendel Insurance Football Club for the provision of world standard welfare and exhibiting professionalism in the management of the traditional club.

The former Super Eagles defender and coach gave the commendation when the Benin Arsenals arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (local wing), Abuja, enroute Maiduguri for their match day 5 engagement with El-Kanemi Warriors.

The former Super Eagles right back said the structure put in place by the state government is placing Bendel Insurance at their rightful position in the hearts of many Edo people and football stakeholders is highly commendable.

“I am happy to see and witness that my childhood club, Bendel Insurance FC are flying in aeroplanes to other states to honour league matches.

“In our days, we used to travel by road, but that’s not the situation with the team now. It is highly commendable and I will say congratulations to the team and management.”

A fan of Bendel Insurance, Lucky Okonofua who was in the same flight with Bendel Insurance FC from Benin to Abuja while also commending Edo State government said: “Bendel Insurance used to be a great delight of the state in those days and we didn’t know of other clubs like Chelsea, Man United and the rest. It was all about Bendel Insurance, Enugu Rangers, Iwuayanwu Nationale and others. But later things changed and the interest went down for a long time but thank God, the Edo State Government has lifted Insurance up again,” he enthused.

Speaking on how the team can sustain their form, the excited fan and business man who appreciated the great work of the present administration of Governor Godwin Obaseki said it is the work of the administrators to keep the team in top shape.

They expressed their delight at the manner at which Edo State Government and the management have raised the bar for the Benin Arsenals.

In its entirety, efforts and commitment to improving the welfare of Bendel Insurance and Edo Queens Football Clubs, the management of the Edo State owned clubs have enrolled their players and officials for the compulsory Edo State Health Insurance Scheme.

The enrollment exercise kicked off on Tuesday, 7 February, 2023, at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium with the officials of the Edo State Health Insurance Commission already on ground as early as 8:00am and immediately commenced the process.

Players, officials and backroom staff of both clubs who made themselves available for the exercise took their turns to complete the documentation and data capture processes.

Speaking during the exercise, the captains of the teams commended Edo State Government and the management of the teams for the initiative, saying that they see the scheme as part of the motivation because it means giving them a sense of belonging.

The captain of Bendel Insurance FC, Maurice Prince, said he was happy to be part of the exercise and Bendel Insurance FC success story.

While also reacting, Edo Queens captain, Onyebuchi Ihuoma Goodness, said that the scheme is of great advantage and benefits for them, promising that they will reciprocate the kind gesture in the field of play and remain loyal to their proprietors.

On January 18, 2023, The Nigerian Observer Sports reported that the Edo State Sports Commission organised a one-day seminar for its staff towards the realisation of the state government’s programme Making Edo Great Again (MEGA). According to the state’s commission, the attainment of the programme is achievable in all sectors.

The seminar which took place at the media centre of the sports commission was attended by all categories of staff currently working at the commission.

The resource person at the seminar, Dr Amina Abhulimhem, reminded the staff that the commission has a vision and mission to reposition the state as a foremost sporting destination in Nigeria and beyond. Abhulimhem reiterated that to attain excellent and positively impact in the lives of Edo people through sports participation, development and business, all hands must be on deck to unveil the new Edo sports commission that will drive the process.

In another training session on February 2, 2023, the Permanent Secretary, Edo State Sports Commission, Sabina Chikere, charged staff of the organisation to develop the concept of change so as to enable them key into the “Make Edo Great Again” (MEGA) agenda of Godwin Obaseki led administration in Edo State.

Speaking at the resumed training and re-training of the commission’s staff on Wednesday, Chikere said the new culture of the state government’s agenda is that the entire workforce in the state are trained for enhanced service delivery.

On his part, the consultant on sports to the commission, Dr. Kweku Tandoh challenged the staff to use the opportunity created by the training to enhance their service delivery as a worker in the commission in particular and the state in general.

Speaking on the topic; “Culture Change initiative; Agents and Graduate Trainees Engagement On Commercial Acumen”, the resource person, Dr.Aminat Abhulimen said the target given to the sports commission by government is to raise 10,000 athletes within five years, adding that this development would, within this period, take the youths out of the streets for positive engagements through sports development.