By Igbaugba Ehigimetor
Benin, Jan. 21, 2020 Edo Government will always support the aspirations of young footballers in the state, especially in the area of their education, the state’s Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, said on Thursday in Benin.
Shaibu, who said this when he received the Bendel Insurance FC Feeder Team, said an example of this was the reward of scholarship awards to members of the state’s under-17 football team.
The under-17 team had emerged winners of the 2020 Stephen Keshi National Under-17 Football Championship held in Benin.
Shaibu, who charged the Insurance FC Feeder Team players to remain focused and disciplined, said the state government would grant scholarship award to any of them ready to realise their academic dreams.
“The state under-17 players are worthy ambassadors who have brought honour to their parents and the state. So, the reward is rewarding, and we are ready to do this for others too,” he said.
The deputy governor expressed satisfaction that the Insurance FC project which started with the club’s rebranding by the present administration a few years ago, saying it had started yielding dividends.
“I am happy that we have started seeing results from the sports rebranding, including that of Insurance FC, which we embarked upon just a few years ago.
“I am confident that within four years from now, the main Insurance FC would be populated by home-grown football stars.
“I see this team as the real future of Bendel Insurance FC and I am proud of you.
“We will discuss how to assist you to combine education with football because we care about your future,” he said.
Head coach of the victorious team, Osazee Stanley, thanked Shaibu and the Insurance FC management for giving him the opportunity to serve.
“We give thanks to God for the victory and we remain grateful to the deputy governor and management of Bendel Insurance FC for giving me the opportunity to serve.
“I am happy we won the championship in our first appearance. The players we parade today are the same kids we took from the grassroots that made major impact at the 2019 NPFL/LaLiga Under-15 Championship and they have now graduated to under-17.
“It is important we say that we won all our games in the championship, including individual awards of best coach and best goalkeeper.
“The good thing is that the team is designed to feel the gap in the main team and we are committed to the realisation of that goal,” he said.
Naija247news reports that the deputy governor later announced cash gift of N1 million to the team.