The Governor of Edo State Mr. Godwin Obaseki has continued to inspire players and officials of Bendel Insurance FC ahead of their match against ASO Chlef FC of Algeria in the first preliminary fixture of 2023/24 CAF Confederations Cup as he paid the team a surprise visit during their evening training session on Thursday at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium.
The match is scheduled to kick off at 4:00 PM at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium on Saturday
The Governor, who was accompanied by top government functionaries, including the speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Blessing Agbebaku, and other honourable members boosted the morale of the team with N5m cash prematch reward to further motivate the team ahead of the big clash.
In his pet talk, Governor Obaseki said: “You have all done so well to get to where you are now. So, today I decided to be with you and watch you train, and to encourage you. I want you to know that this is just the beginning. We have made arrangements to fly you to all the destinations where you have matches. We must go and win this tournament but for Saturday, just be in good spirits. You know what to do to win; rest properly and ensure you win for us.
“We, as a government, will do our bit for you. We love you and love how you are making us proud. So, continue to make us proud. We know how capable you are as a team and I will be here on Saturday to cheer you up.”
The Governor revealed that the traveling luxurious bus he earlier promised the team will be delivered to them after the Saturday game while also assuring the Benin Arsenals of improved bonuses and general welfare.
“You know we are not government that makes promises and fail. When we make pledges, we redeemed. So be rest assured that all that we have promised will be delivered to you.” He promised.
The sports loving Governor
expressed confidence that the team will come out victorious, saying that he is optimistic that with the support the team will get from the home crowd, victory is sure.
The Governor who on Wednesday directed the ECTS boss, Mrs. Hauwa Dupe Ohikhuare and the Edo State Sports Commission boss, Olympian Yusuf Alli, to collaborate to make 30 shuttle buses available for fans from all parts of the state to get to the stadium, expressed optimism that Insurance FC will carry the day.
“I am optimistic that with the support the home crowd will give them, they should win the match on Saturday. We want Edo people to come and enjoy what we have provided here in the State. They should come and have a good time here at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium.”
He added, “It’s not all the time we sit in our houses to watch the Premier League, we should develop our own league. This is the beginning of getting our own people more interested in local sports and putting our money here.”
On the issues of strategic routes and pick-up locations for Edo people, buses would be available to pick up Edo residents at designated locations. At the point of entry, they would be issued free tickets to watch the Match.
The 10 strategic routes and their respective pickup points are namely:
1. Agbor Road Axis / Ikpoba Hill: – Ramat Park
2. Kings Square: – #1, Mission Road, ECTS Main Terminal at the Kings Square Axis
3. Ugbowo: – Main Gate & ECTS Turning Point at Oluku / NIFOR junction.
4. Sapele Road: – Winners Chappel
5. Airport Road: – ADP Junction & Estate Gate
6. Ekenwa Axis: – Ojemai Farms
7. Siloko / Ogida: – Channel 55
8. Aduwawa / Eyan Axis: – Pipeline & Idokpa Town Hall
9. New Benin Axis: – Mission Road Junction by Total Filling Station
10. Upper Sakponba: – Gorreti & 3rd East Circular Junction.
Responding, the head coach and Technical Director, Bendel Insurance FC Monday Odigie thanked the governor for his continuous support and encouragement to the team, adding, “We are doing the best we can for Saturday’s match and we are close to our best. We look forward to a positive game.”
The elated players, while appreciating the Governor and his entourage, assured the Governor and Edo people of victory with an exciting outing on Saturday against ASO Chlef.
Bendel Insurance FC are no strangers in CAF engagements as they plan to go into the game on Saturday with confidence having been champions of the CAF Confederations Cup in 1994.
The Benin Arsenals also won the WAFU Cup in 1993, 1994 and 1995 for keeps in their Golden generation with their former coach Roland Ewere. Other prominent stars in that team include Charles Ihimekpen aka Chiko, Alhassan Mohammed, Lucky Omorogbe, Lucky Ikponmwen aka Owewe, Peter Obanor and former chief coach Baldwin Bazuaye. Others include Ufom Bassey, late Gabriel Adejor, Ben Kluvi among others.