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Administrative incompetence held down Bendel Insurance FC for 11 years, Edo Deputy Governor says

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Incompetence

Benin, May 8, 2019, The Deputy Governor of Edo, Philip Shaibu, on Wednesday, blamed administrative incompetence for the failure of the state-owned Bendel Insurance Football Club of Benin to return to the Nigerian football top-flight.

Shaibu told the Nigeria News Agency in Benin that good measures put in place by the Gov. Godwin Obaseki-led administration have now helped the club.

“The club is now back among the elite in Nigerian football after about 11 years, and are competing in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).

“This feat is due to Gov. Godwin Obaseki’s determined will to revamp every sector of the state’s economy, including sports.’’

He said his office was saddled with the task of revamping the club because part of the goals of the Obaseki-led administration was to revamp sports generally and football in particular.

“I was given the marching order to handle this task and I am glad to say that following that order, in 2017, to rebrand Bendel Insurance FC and other sports activities in the state, we

swung into action and our efforts have started yielding results.

“We did a lot of rebranding in the club and we appreciate the governor for ensuring prompt release of the budget of the club and the payment of salaries.’’

Shaibu said he and members of the state’s newly-created Sports Commission discovered that lots of administrative irregularities in running Bendel Insurance FC.

“For example, at Bendel Insurance FC, we discovered that the backroom staff were twice in number more than the number of the club’s players, and consequently the players’ welfare was neglected.

“No team can survive in such an environment,” he said.

The deputy governor however disclosed that the Sports Commission had done some cleansing for a brand new Bendel Insurance FC.

“We have dealt with the backroom staff matter. We also tackled the issue of members of the club’s technical bench, as well as the players.

“We limited it (the technical crew) to a few individuals and brought in one or two people to handle certain departments, while we collapsed into one or two a lot of other things, so as to

achieve the desired results.

“Interestingly, we discovered that we didn’t need to change the team, because we found out that the players were actually good.

“The problem was just a managerial problem. People will understand this when they realise that it was those same set of players who helped the club gain promotion to the NPFL.

“It was the same set of players who were struggling to avoid relegation the previous year that pushed us up and brought us to the top-flight when the square pegs were put in the square holes.’’

Shaibu disclosed that, as part of the revamping process, the club’s management team has developed a method of harnessing the technical expertise of some of the state’s retired footballers.

He added that it was in the same way that the Sports Commission had been making use of other retired athletes to groom the young ones.

“Alongside this, the players’ welfare at Insurance FC has now become top priority as their entitlements are paid immediately after matches.

“They (Bendel Insurance FC players) now have a conducive camp with good beds, good food, water, a new technical team and all the things they need to excel. In fact, the players are ready to sacrifice their legs in matches now.”

NAN reports that Bendel Insurance FC, originally known as the Vipers of Benin with a traditional base at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, was one of the founders of the Nigerian Football League in 1972.

The club’s slump however started in the 2007/2008 season which was delayed because of a management dispute over who controlled the team.

The ownership crisis coupled, with other problems, dragged the club into relegation at the end of the season.

That was after they finished last on the table, the first time the team suffered relegation from the top level in its history.

(
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)

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