…black armbands, prayers for the dead in view

…as team arrives Benin, Thursday

…death toll nears 3,000 as rescuers reach more towns

Official condolence protocols have been put in place as Bendel Insurance Football Club, Nigeria’s representatives in the ongoing CAF Confederation Cup, get set to host Morocco’s RS Berkane in the second preliminary round first leg of the competition in Benin City, the Edo State capital on Saturday.

It will be recalled that Morocco suffered an earthquake measuring 6.8 magnitude on the Richter scale last Friday (September 8), in which 2,862 people are so far recorded to have lost their lives, with counting still ongoing.

Yusuf Alli, Chairman Edo State Sports Commission, told our reporter in Benin City, Tuesday afternoon, that official protocols have been put in place to condole with RS Berkane and the nation of Morocco as a whole, at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium Benin City, venue of the match.

The protocols include the flying of flags at half mast, the wearing of black armbands by members of both teams and officiating personnel, one minute of silence and prayers for the souls of the departed.

Some victims are still feared trapped in the Morocco disaster and there is a need for basic necessities, with medics and rescuers continuing to fight the clock as hopes fade of finding more survivors under the rubble.

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Questions had been raised as to whether or not Moroccan authorities would call for a postponement of the CAF Confederation Cup match, considering the national disaster but Yusuf Alli, Chairman, Edo Sports Commission, confirmed to The Nigerian Observer that RS Berkane are scheduled to arrive Benin City on a chattered flight from Rabat Morocco, Thursday.

The match is scheduled to kick off at 16:00 on Saturday, September 16.

In domestic football, RS Berkane have won two trophies and three Moroccan Throne Cup competitions. In international competitions, Berkane have won three trophies; two CAF Confederation Cup titles and one CAF Super Cup title. Berkane is also one of the most successful Moroccan clubs of the 21st Century, and is the third most crowned Moroccan club in Africa, with three titles in official competitions.

Bendel Insurance FC who have remained unbeaten this season, were the champions of the CAF Confederation Cup in 1994. They also won the WAFU Cup in 1993, 1994 and 1995.

Bendel Insurance FC, also known as Adaa Bendel, Nigeria’s Federation Cup holders, secured their spot in the Second Round of the CAF Confederations Cup after a remarkable first and second-leg performance against Aso Chlef of Algeria, the 2022/23 Algerian Cup winners.

As the countdown to the epic cracker draws near, Nigerian football followers have been expressing their condolences to the nation of Morocco over the unfortunate incident.

Meanwhile, some finicky fans have been heard saying that Bendel Insurance would need to beat the Moroccan side emphatically, so as to avoid the perils of possible sympathetic officiating in favour of the Moroccans on account of the unfortunate earthquake in that country.