It is no longer news that last weekend was ecstatic for the Edo people in particular and the Nigerian nation in general as Bendel Insurance Football Club, the Benin Arsenals, and Nigeria’s representative defeated Aso Chlef of Algeria to progress to the next stage of the CAF Confederation Cup, after over three decades.

Of note are that Bendel Insurance’s victories so far are combinations intentional planning. It is no gain saying therefore to categorically state that the Benin Arsenals have been inspired to excel exceptionally in their outings by the motivation and provision of adequate and sufficient sporting facilities by the Obaseki-led administration.

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has heartily congratulated Bendel Insurance Football Club for defeating the tactically disciplined Aso Chlef of Algeria to progress to the next stage of the CAF Confederation Cup.

In his congratulatory statement, Obaseki noted, “The team has continued to give an excellent account of themselves, showcasing their exceptional talent and making us all proud with their outstanding performance.

“As the they progress to the next stage of the CAF Confederations Cup; I charge them to continue on their impressive run as they continue to place Edo on the continental map.”

Recall that Bendel Insurance Football Club of Benin triumphed over ASO Chlef of Algeria 4-3 in a penalty shootout to advance to the second round of the 2023/24 CAF Confederation Cup Preliminaries on Saturday, at the Salem Mabrouki Stadium in Rouïba, Algiers.

Earlier, Insurance FC defeated the Algerian side 1-0 at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City, in the first leg of the two-legged fixtures. Imade Osarenkhoe was the hero in Benin City with a 41-minute goal.

Bendel Insurance FC are scheduled to face RS Berkane of (Morocco) in the second Round for a place in the group stage. RS Berkane have been on standby, waiting for winners between Insurance FC and ASO Chlef.

Insurance FC left Benin on Wednesday with their proprietor Governor Godwin Obaseki at the Benin Airport to bid them farewell, promising more surprised packages and improved welfare for them.

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Days preceding the first-leg match, Obaseki urged residents of the state to come out on Saturday, August 19, 2023, to cheer Bendel Insurance as the team begins its campaigns in the CAF competition with first match against Algeria’s Aso Chlef, at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City.

On the day of the first leg fixture at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City, Obaseki provided 30 buses, branded with the vibrant colours of Bendel Insurance, the buses 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.

Leading the cheer at the stadium was the Governor himself, who had spent the days leading up to the game drumming support for the Nigerian flag-bearer and encouraging supporters to turn up for the event to lend their voices in encouragement.

Speaking after their one goal victory over Aso Chlef FC of Algeria in their first leg match at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in the CAF Confederation Cup preliminary clash, Obaseki said: “I feel happy as we have a very good, youthful, strong and imaginative team. I am really thrilled and pleased with their performance this evening.

“This is one of the greatest achievements of our government. We were able to mobilise the citizens and football lovers to fill this stadium and cheer our team to victory.

Coming from being crowned Champions of the 2023 Federation’s Cup after a 1-0 victory against Rangers International of Enugu at the final match played at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, Delta State, on 21 June 2023, which earned them a place in the CAF Confederation Cup, Insurance’s winning ways can be attributed to hard work on the part of the players and their managers, while also emphasizing on the massive sports infrastructure development by the Edo State Government led by Governor Godwin Obaseki, which has created an enabling environment for the players.

Indeed, reforms by the Obaseki-led state government in sports and the sustained support for the team had returned the team to the continental state after many years.

It is relevant to mention that we cannot agree more with these assessments and we thank Governor Obaseki for all his administration has done for sports in Edo State, according to a sports enthusiast. Importantly, we commend Bendel Insurance who have shown, through their impressive performance so far, that the government’s investments in sports development are not misplaced. We wish them greater success in the days ahead, he said.

Special thanks to the Governor Obaseki-led state government for investing in sports development, which has undoubtedly contributed to the team’s success.