Edo plans novel self-financing module for Bendel Insurance, says Shaibu

One of the expected outcomes of today’s relaunch of Bendel Insurance Football Club will be the club becoming self sustaining with government playing the role of facilities provider, as obtains in some more advanced footballing nations, Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu has said.

Bendel Insurance has been languishing in the lower rungs of Nigerian football due, to some extent, to poor funding since it was relegated from elite division in 2008. The club, which gave football lovers some of the most memorable moments in the country’s game, has become a shadow of its former self such that even local teams in Edo State prevent it from competing in the yearly Federation Cup. Such ignominious defeats will become a thing of the past after today’s repackaging of the team, Shaibu told The Guardian yesterday.

He added: “Edo State used to be number one in Nigerian sports, but these days we are nowhere to be found.

“Bendel Insurance caused the biggest stir in Nigerian football when it defeated Enugu Rangers 3-0 to win the Challenge Cup in 1978. Everybody that knows Nigerian football will tell you that Insurance was one of the biggest forces in the game in the 1970s and 1980s even up till the 1990s. But some how we lost it,” he said.

According to the deputy governor, today’s event will include the unveiling of the team’s logo, jerseys, technical crew and a structure that ensures the team is solvent at all times.

“We want to lay a solid foundation that will pull corporate bodies and investors to key into the project.”

The exercise, which will be hosted by Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, will also witness a parade of the prominent stars that made the team one of the dreaded sides in Nigerian football.

Such stars as iconic coach, Alabi Aisien, Fanny Amun, Osaze Odemwingie, Austin Eguavoen, Ndubuisi Okosieme, Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Julius Aghahowa, Roland Ewere, Friday Elaho and Laotis Boateng, among others, are expected to be part of the event.

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