Edo State Government unveiled and rebranded Edo Queens FC . The State Government made a grand revelation of its new logo/jerseys in an upscale ceremony, held in the ancient city of Benin.
The state Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu who spoke on behalf of Governor Godwin Obaseki stated that the idea behind the rebranding was to gear up Bendel Insurance FC (codenamed Benin Arsenal) to play in the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) while their female counterparts make it to the FA Cup; Super Four and LA Liga tournament in the 2020/21 new football season.
He called on sports lovers who are keen on partnering with the government to drive sports development using the public/private partnership to do so by patronizing the state registered football teams. He said this could be done by buying it’s merchandise and souvenirs from the Samuel Ogbemudia stadium.
He noted that government was keen at, “Selling seasonal tickets incorporated into bank debit cards to allow people subscribe.
“Beyond the merchandise stores we have launched the Jerseys today which have outlets at the Edo State Secretariat, within the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium and other outlets, for Edo Queens.
“We are building a team that would not be fully government funded but private sector driven, so that before the end of our tenure, Insurance FC would have had enough capital to run and sustain itself.
‘We are backing up the team with policy; financial mobilization and capital to enable it run.”
The Deputy Governor stated that the tilt of this government was to grow sports alongside education/skilled labour to grow the next phase of athletes who dominate the Nigerian professional sporting sphere where Edo State is poised to prove its dominance once again.
Hon. Shaibu stated, “We have decided to combine sports with education with the building of 20 mini stadia in the 18 local government areas with 17 of them built inside schools to bring back the sporting spirit in schools by bringing back to life competitive sports through the Principal and Governor’s cup to reveal new talents that can represent the state.”
Praising Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki for graciously approving an improved salary structure for the two teams whose salary are at par, Hon. Shaibu assured that, “This is the first time this is happening in the world. The implication means that Edo Queens are now the highest paid female football team in Nigeria while the Bendel Insurance FC Players are the highest paid footballers in the NNL.”
He said the emergence of female football teams started in Nigeria through the ownership of the Inneh Queens by Eghaghe Inneh which was later taken over and renamed by former Governor Lucky Igbinedion in December 4, 2002 adding that the present administration has improved on through partnership in football and infrastructural development of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium which is home to Bendel Insurance FC.
Wife of Edo State Governor, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki used the occasion to charge Edo Queens to win the female FA Cup for the 2020/21 new football season, adding that aside the new salary scale, government has gone a step further to build a new hostel facility due for completion at the end of the year backed by other forms of motivations which include periodic visitations from the Deputy Governor and herself for ease of better communication process.
While expressing her happiness for the successful unveiling, she said, “This government has done great in the area of sports. Everyone in this administration is a technocrat from the governor to his deputy and the secretary to the state government and others who know how to manage money and people.
“The Deputy Governor has done huge transformation in managing people in the area of sports. The whole country should know that it’s the reenactment of the good old days that had happened in this state in comparative and competitive form which is being solidified now in society to halt illegal migration.
“It is not something that happens overnight but the hallmark of good governance brings change in society. People know that sports educates youths through sports academies where they get quality education. Some of the best paid people in the world are sports men and women.
“The Deputy Governor has done a good job at remembering the women in sports through implementing policies which tally with politics in the state where there is gender inclusion.
“With the branding of Edo Queens, this move would help our girls, especially returnee migrants to channel their energies to sports and sports supporters
Chairman, Nigerian Women Football League, Aisha Falode praised the reforms, restructuring, wages, welfare and remunerations for females in football.
She stated, ” We are not only witnessing fair play but equal remunerations for all players which is gender inclusive. Branding and brand image for Edo Queens is what we are witnessing.
“This unveiling has never been done before in Nigeria; equal pay in any sports in the world has never been done. It is on record it started in Edo State. It is historical and significant. We have started something noble and significant.
Edo State focal person on sports, mostly referred to as ” Mama Bendel Insurance,” Mrs. Sabina Chikere stated that the teams were poised to put in their best to achieve positive results this new football season as well as making a competitive entrance into Spain to bring back the competitive cup to the governor, a promise which she said they were ready to deliver.