THE Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has implored residents of the State to come out on Saturday to cheer Bendel Insurance as the club host Algerian side ASO Chlef in a CAF Confederation Cup preliminary round clash at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City.
The Chairman of the Edo State Sports Commission, Mr. Yusuf Alli, recalled during a press conference yesterday that Bendel Insurance would be playing continental football again after 34 years.
“We just want you to know what is happening to Bendel Insurance from our own end and also from the Governor’s side of it. The last time Bendel Insurance played at the continental level was 34 years ago,” the former long jump champion said.
“Now, we are playing on the continent with the first match being this Saturday, we need the whole stadium to be filled up. We want a full capacity. We have tickets printed, and are airing television and radio commercials. Tickets are available for everyone. It is free.
“The state government and our governor are putting everything into hosting the match, ensuring that our team, Bendel Insurance, comes out on top on Saturday.
“For us, it is historic having not been on this stage in the last 34 years and so coming to this point, we are now and given the fact that we have made history in the last abridged Nigeria Premier Football League and also the FA Cup that brought us here.
“The state government is quite aware of this and because of that, every effort is being made to ensure that no stone is left unturned and that our team comes out on top.”
Alli added that Governor Obaseki had approved the release of buses to mobilise supporters to and back from the stadium, noting that hundreds of jerseys will be distributed to football fans at the match venue.
The Managing Director, Edo City Transport Service (ECTS), Hauwa Dupe Ohikhuare, revealed that the 10 locations for the free bus ride to the stadium include Agbor Road-axis -Ramat park, King Square – 1 Mission Road and ECTS main terminal, Ugbowo pick-up point- Main Gate and ECTS turning point at Oluku/NIFFOR Junction, and Sapele Road – Winners Chapel.
Others are: Airport Road – ADP Junction and Estate Gate, Ekenwa axis – Ojemai farms, Siloko/Ogida – Channel 55, Aduwawa/ Eyan Axis- Pipeline and Idokpa Town Hall. New Benin, Mission road by Total Junction and Upper Sakponba- Goretti and Third East Circular Junction.
In addition, a roadshow will also be organised tomorrow across Benin City to further drum up awareness and support for the team while the Governor Obaseki will visit the team camp today to inspire the players to victory.
Bendel Insurance made history last season by going unbeaten in 18 matches of the shortened regular season before coming up short in championship play-offs in Lagos.
They then won the Federation Cup trophy by beating traditional rivals Rangers of Enugu in the final to earn the Confederation Cup ticket.
The return leg of the Confederation Cup tie will be in Algeria Saturday next week.
PHOTO: Left to right: Permanent Secretary, Edo Sports Commission, Mrs. Sabina Chikere; Chairman, Edo State Sports Commission, Yusuf Alli; and Managing Director, Edo City Transport Service (ECTS), Mrs. Hauwa Dupe Ohikhuai, during a press conference at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City yesterday ahead of Bendel Insurance vs Algeria’s ASO Chlef.