• Thu. Oct 5th, 2023

Bendel Insurance Vs Santos FC: Shaibu features as Odeyemi stunner seals victory for the Home Boys

Bendel Insurance FC continued their pre-season game with a 2-1 win over a selected side sponsored by Santos FC of Brazil management under the floodlights of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, the Edo State Capital.

Captaining Bendel Insurance into the friendly, the Deputy Governor of Edo State, Rt. Hon Comrade Philip Shaibu who hung his boot in August, started gallantly for the Benin-based side before he was taken off in the 12th minute.

It was a strong start from the Benin Arsenal kitted in Santos FC away jersey, with the new signings impressing.

Bendel Insurance opened the scoring with a fine build-up play – a good through pass from Odinaka Edeh on the right flank found Ismael Sarki who outpaced his marker and crossed to a well-positioned Imade Osehenkhoe who wasted no time in hitting the back of the net with just three minutes into the game.

Santos FC looked to strike back, but somehow, the ball stayed out following a breathtaking move by Efe Agama that saw Bendel Insurance defenders given a good run.

A defensive error however undermined the Benin Arsenal resulting in an equaliser at the half-hour mark, courtesy of Raymond Ekenoba.

Bendel Insurance went back in front as a new signing, Ebenezer Odeyemi who was introduced in the second half sent a superb strike in the 54th minute from within the area into the bottom corner to cap a fine second-half display.

Insurance kept the victory secured after failing to find the back of the net at the other end of a stubborn side.

Speaking after the match, Edo State Sports Commission Chairman, OLY Yussuf Alli registered his excitement at the friendly, tagging it a good thing to witness in one’s lifetime.

“Santos FC deeming it fit to be here in Benin shows that they can see what we don’t see ourselves. Beyond coming back here after 52 years, it gladdens my heart that they see Edo as the state they can partner with on a grassroots development level.”

“We will savour this moment and build on it.”

The Deputy Governor, Rt Hon Comrade Philip Shaibu who led the team to the pitch expressed excitement and called the friendly a divine arrangement, beyond just revisiting after 53 years.

“Many of us here were not born when this club came to this stadium in 1969, but we are happy now that they have come in our time of living. A lot has changed from that time, structure, development and football itself.”

“Beyond them playing here today, I feel it has a divine significance – the last time they came here, there was a civil war and now, we all know the situation of the country, we should be hopeful that things will also change for the better.”

“We are signing a memorandum of understanding with them on football development in the state and we are convinced that it will yield positive results.”

Bendel Insurance, one of the four newly-promoted sides to the Nigeria Professional Football League for the 2022/2023 season have been busy with a series of friendly matches to keep shape ahead of the commencement of the new season.

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