Edo begins preparation for Bendel Insurance’s relaunch

Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State

It was one of the biggest names in Nigerian football in the 1970s up till the early 2000s. But sadly, Bendel Insurance has been languishing in the lower rungs of the country’s football since it was relegated from the elite league early this century.

The Benin-based team alongside Enugu Rangers, Raccah Rovers of Kano, IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan, Spartans of Owerri, Mighty Jets of Jos, Stationery Stores of Lagos and Calabar Rovers were the traditional teams in Nigerian football when the best players from the country still plied their trade in the local league.

Today, most of these teams are history, while a few are in death throe, occasionally raising their heads to remind true lovers of Nigerian football that time was when football was played by skillful and flamboyant men.

Bendel Insurance, winner of a dramatic 1978 Challenge Cup final against Enugu Rangers, may yet rise again. That is the process Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki wants to kick start on February 27 inside Government House, Benin.

Obaseki sees the resuscitation of Bendel Insurance as a critical arm of his aim at galvanising the youths of the state to become better citizens.
 
Speaking though his deputy, Comrade Philip Shaibu, Obaseki said Edo is finally ready to re-launch football in Nigeria and it will be through the state’s prime club, Bendel Insurance FC.

According to him, the state, which has witnessed tremendous growth though football development can no longer lag behind while less talented states take the front seats.

Edo FA Chairman, Frank Ilaboya, who spoke on behalf of Comrade Philip Shaibu, said the February 27 event would be all encompassing in its push to rediscover the team and the entire process of football in Nigeria, where Edo and Delta states were the champions.

“It will be a new dawn in Nigerian football and that is why Corporate Nigeria will be heavily represented. New kits of Bendel Insurance will be launched,” Shaibu said.

Apart from the NFF leadership expected at the event, foremost Nigerian star and 1980 Nations Cup hero, Olusegun ‘Mathematical’ Odegbami will be among the team of exalted invitees.

Also to take part in the event are most of the iconic names in Nigerian football, who are Edo indigenes. These include the only living Nigerian to have coached the U17, U20, U23 and the senior national teams, Fanny Amun and Super Eagles former coach, Austin Eguavoen.



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