Bendel Insurance resurgence into NPFL, Lobi, Rangers, Super Falcons Friendlies!

By Dally Sports on January 14, 2019

Views: 10,410

You may have read last week’s article on this page on NFF’s purported corruption that is still trending as at the time of piecing this week’s column together. As usual, I have been called many names by my detractors and that of Amaju Pinnick. Let me say it again and again that I won’t deny being a friend to Amaju Pinnick no matter what they are alleging about him and at the same I must restate that since he assumed duty as the President of NFF, I have not sat one on one with him and I don’t hold such against him once I discharge my duties without let or hindrance as a reporter.

Why I am saying this here is that many called personally and via SMS that after reading the write up last week that they believe I have soft spot for Amaju Pinnick and therefore would see nothing wrong in him. However, that is their impression but I insist that my write-ups since Daily Sports and Sports Pulse debuted, has always been balanced in analysis and even reportage and same goes for Amaju, NFF and other issues in football. For many of them to insinuate that I have soft spot for one particular person I believe is being economical with the truth.

Yes, like every other senior journalist, it is not exclusive to me to be close to certain individuals, corporate and sundry. Let me confess that it has never affected my view or reportage in any form on such subject matters if the need arises. Let me repeat that I have never attended any NFF function since the present regime came on board and it has not stopped me from doing my job to the best of my ability. I have been here on the beat; these people are like soldiers, they come and go while barracks remain.

Above all, let me state it categorically here that I am not sitting around waiting for such invitations to come before I write my stories or weekly column. At this level in journalism, I know how I source my reports, Period! I have been one of the most vocal critics of NFF whenever there is something to correct or draw the attention to. I don’t hesitate to alert our loyal readers and advertisers who have been our strength and I ensure we meet up our responsibilities as a responsible newspaper house.  So how do we classify these detractors? Are they the opinion of my friends or the antics of image destroyers?

As this page was preparing to go to bed, the allegations and counter allegations were still trending heavily against Amaju Pinnick and his executive committee members. One decided not to give it prominence not because of the mere allegations but that the allegations are sheer window dressing or hearsay from social media rats.

Recall that their insinuation that Amaju and some of his men have been arrested and their passports seized last week turned out to be their usual flying of a kite.  The NFF supremo was in Senegal for CAF awards and where the announcement for 2019 AFCON hosts was made public. Of significant note one must say, was the time table for friendlies arranged for the World Cup-bound Super Falcons. From what was released, that is the countries the African champs would test her strength against before the hostiles in France, one would acknowledge that despite distractions left, right and centre that has engaged NFF leadership both self-inflicted and from frivolous element out there, the leadership still thought outside the box to ensure such quality ten friendly matches were arranged for the Women national team.

It is the vehement belief of the writer that all these games showcased would be played to properly prepare our team for greater glory and exploits in the women world cup summit in France later in the year.

We wish the NFF, the girls and her technical crew well as they prepare earnestly to improve tremendously in the forthcoming Women World Cup cracker. One prays that the Football family would witness less rancour by giving peace a chance as our teams prepare for their various tournaments this year. Football, the players and the fans need peace to get optimum result in AFCON coming up in Egypt in June and our age grade teams and Falcons. Yes, there are issues to be cleared and put in proper perspective and for the records. Often, the so-called witch hunting, name-calling, rumour mongering, fictitious writings and postings in the social media cause divisions and discord among the stakeholders and teeming followers of the most beautiful and money-spinning sport in the globe. It is extremely worrisome as this impedes the development of the game in our land. Aside from having many armchair analysts and administrators, it has created many enemies against the incumbent whose attitude towards people, unfortunately, has not helped him at all. There is a need for thorough change of heart and harmony amongst the stakeholders for the good of the game and for results too.

The outgone week saw many activities trending on our football and other sports. NNL held her eight-team pay-offs in a beautiful arena, Enyimba International Stadium Aba and four teams gained promotion to NPFL notably, the once upon a time traditional team of the Nigerian League in the 1970s 1980’s Bendel Insurance FC of Benin.

It served as a watershed or if you like icing the cake. It remains one turn of event that has been gathering a series of celebrations in and outside Benin City. It has been with funfair and my colleagues especially within our age groups that knew what the team meant then to the old Bendel have been all over the social media and even calling me to remember the good old days of the club and its exploits in the then amateur days of the Nigerian league.

It is on record that Bendel Insurance is presently in great hands from the government to one of my own whom I still go to for other tips on Daily Sports to ensure we are always there as a dynamic newspaper be it offline or online. His contributions have been very enduring and refreshing. I am talking about my close brother and friend, Barrister Godwin Dudu Orumen at the Edo State National Sports Commission. He will articulate well; permit that word. He has some great ideas upstairs that will not only sustain Bendel FC but other sports in Edo State.

Once those that brought him to reinvent sports in the State give him maximum co-operation on the way forward then the State would be home and dry once again in sports. He does not pretend. He is a serious-minded professional and his choice is not misplaced. He is also one that never believes in lip or eye service. In short he calls a shape by its name and Bendel Insurance return I believe, (being at the category of those that can write volumes on the club) he would be ever ready to ensure the club has come to stay in the NPFL where the action is. Edo State absence or starvation in first-rate football action in the country has become embarrassing until this ice was broken the other day in Aba NNL playoffs of eighty teams.  

As all hands were on deck to see Bendel through thus far, so also it should continue to sustain the tide. The game at that apex level no matter the angle you may be looking at it from won’t be a mere child’s play, therefore, it requires hard work, first-rate players and sound technical bench to cope with. Edo State and her people are equal to the task one believes . This is wishing Godwin Dudu Orumen all the best as Bendel Insurance FC triumphant re-entry into Nigeria’s elite class football league. It is truly an added responsibility on the broad shoulders of this sports technocrat of note. 

It was fun watching Bendel Insurance FC trade tackles against crack club sides’ traditionalists then like Rangers International, Raccah Rovers of Kano, Spartans of Owerri, IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan, Calabar Rovers, Water Corporation of Ibadan etc. The league was a delight to be held then. The NNL promotions the other day that excites this reporter is the return of Gombe United to the elite league. It further showed the hard work of the State Government and the management of the Club.

It is more gladdening that Governor Dankombo has done well in the State and as a grand parting gift,  he ensured Gombe United returned to NPFL to ensure that his state and fans would enjoy week in week out. Top flight football which has become the way of life around the country and States hosting NPFL are like specialities and Gombe State has keyed into this rare cadre. 

Other teams that made it like Kada FC are all welcome. This is the cadre where boys are separated from the men. The name of the game in NPFL can also be likened to the survival of the fittest. It is for the men and so no boy plays in an elite cadre. They should be well prepared to face teams like Enyimba, Akwa United, Rangers, Kano Pillars, Lobi, MFM etc. NFPL is abridged this time and it kicked-off Sunday, January 13. The heat is on already.

Nigeria’s representatives in CAF Champions League, Lobi Stars started on brighter note despite rising from the dead to overcome visitors Mamelodi Sundown, a top club side from South Africa 2-1 to keep hope alive in its group.  One prays that the Makurdi based team would redouble its efforts knowing that this money-spinning stage is slippery and delicate which calls for vigilance and thorough planning. One also extends same to Rangers International in the second tier of Africa championship. The stage is obviously not for kids.

As we keep on vividly our eyes on the ball, thanks dear readers for sticking with us. We promise our absolute resolve to continue to stand on the truth because only it can set society or any endeavour free. Let’s continue the discussion on social media handles. We remain upbeat on this beat. Keep shooting hard, till next week!!

Source Daily Sports

Posted January 14, 2019


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