…Obaseki commends Edo people for massive support, assures sustained devt in sports
Football enthusiasts, fans and other residents of Edo State have described as electrifying the weekend’s CAF Confederation Cup clash between Bendel Insurance and ASO Chlef FC of Algeria, 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 burst with excitement watching the continental action for the first time in about 18 years on the edge of their seats.
The excitement had 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, scoring the decisive goal of the match, 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 thoughtful 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 colouration to the city’s scape that was in expectant and celebration mood as they waited for the start of the game.
The streets were alive with the shared anticipation and camaraderie spirit of those onboard the buses, creating an exciting and fun-filled spectacle before and after the match.
Speaking to journalists in Benin City, Edokpolor Osadolor, said reforms by Governor Godwin Obaseki-led state government in sports and the sustained support for the team had returned the team to the continental state after 18 years.
According to him, “The excitement and atmosphere in the stadium was palpable as Bendel Insurance showcased their prowess on the field. It’s heartwarming to see the team’s return to continental competitions after such a long hiatus.
“A special thanks to the Governor Obaseki-led state government for investing in sports development, which has undoubtedly contributed to the team’s success. It was indeed a moment to cherish and I am glad I didn’t miss the football match.”
Another resident, Jude Amieghemwen, said, “Bendel Insurance’s performance was a true spectacle and the atmosphere in the stadium was electric. We are glad they are returning to the continental stage after 18 years.
“I commend the team for their resilience, hard work, and dedication, as well as the government for its unwavering support to the team. It’s heartening to see how sports can bring people together and create moments of pride like this.”
Appreciating the fans for coming out to support the team, Chairman, Edo Sports Commission, Yusuf Alli, said: “We extend my 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 taking place in Algeria. We thank you for making this a historic and unforgettable moment for all of us.”