✕ CLOSE Online Special City News Entrepreneurship Environment Factcheck Everything Woman Home Front Islamic Forum Life Xtra Property Travel & Leisure Viewpoint Vox Pop Women In Business Art and Ideas Bookshelf Labour Law Letters
Click Here To Listen To Trust Radio Live

The resurrection of Bendel Insurance football club

Without a doubt, Bendel Insurance of Benin have proved bookmakers wrong with their outstanding performances in the ongoing Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) abridged season.…

Without a doubt, Bendel Insurance of Benin have proved bookmakers wrong with their outstanding performances in the ongoing Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) abridged season. The ‘Benin Arsenal’ as Insurance are called are right now the only unbeaten team in the current season. So far, they have played 13 matches without a loss. With seven resounding wins and six draws, including yesterday’s 1-1 home draw with Kwara United, Bendel Insurance are sitting majestically on top of the Group A table with 27 points.

This is no mean achievement considering that they are in the same group with formidable opponents like former NPFL champions Enyimba FC, Akwa United, Plateau United and 3SC. Other experienced campaigners like Remo Stars, Kwara United, Gombe United, Nasarawa United and El-Kanemi Warriors are the other clubs in Group A. This is no doubt a star-studded group.

As stated earlier, Insurance have surprised many football fans with their performances because, at the beginning of the season, only a few people gave them any chance of achieving the results they have recorded against more formidable teams in the group. They had just returned to the Nigerian top flight so many thought they would even struggle to maintain their position in the NPFL. It will be recalled that after over a decade in the lower divisions following their first relegation in history in 2008, Insurance returned to the topflight in 2019 but were relegated again after only one season among the big boys.

However, this time, the ‘Benin Arsenal’ are doing something different to the consternation of their doubters. It is now an open secret that Bendel Insurance started the current season like a house on fire when they stunned former Champions, Akwa United 2-0 at the ‘Nest of Champions’ Uyo in what was also the official opening match of the 2023 NPFL season.

The victory shocked many including the coach of the team, Monday Odigie, who said he didn’t see it coming. Many thought it was going to be a flash in the pan but Insurance went on to prove their doubters wrong with stunning away victories at Kwara United and E-Kanemi Warriors.

They also spiced it up with an away draw against perennial rivals 3SC. In fact, it was when Insurance ended the first stanza of the league without a loss that most people began to take them seriously.

At the moment, we are all waiting to see which club will end Insurance’s unbeaten run. They had successfully navigated their way against Enyimba, Akwa United, Plateau United and Remo Stars in the first round but some skeptics said their unbeaten run would come to a halt in the second round.

Therefore, when they travelled to Plateau United in their last away match, expectations were high that their host would inflict the first defeat on them. But Insurance came out unscathed as they shared the spoils after a 1-1 draw. What is more interesting about the away draws recorded by Insurance is that they fought back gallantly to level scores even when they had fallen behind. What happened yesterday in their Week 13 fixture with Kwara United is therefore a classical example of Insurance’s tenacity. Their resilience and fighting spirit are what has made them a dreaded side this season.

Another thing which is so fascinating about them is that they do not have so many big names in their squad. Insurance are using predominately those players that returned them to the NPFL.

Interestingly, one of the leading goal scorers in the league this term is their striker, Imade Osehenkhoe, who has so far scored eight goals to place second behind Enyimba’s Chukwuemeka Obioma on the goalscorers table. Interestingly, the graduate of the University of Benin is among the youngsters who are making their debut in the Nigerian topflight.

It is also important to note here that in the ongoing season, the ‘Arsenal’ of Benin have something in common with the London Arsenal. Both clubs were not given a chance when the season started but now they are top favourites to win the titles in their respective leagues. When Bendel Insurance shocked Akwa United 2-0 in the season’s opener, many people dismissed them with a wave of the hand just the way critics of the Arsenal of London called them placeholders when they went into the 2022 World Cup break as table toppers. Despite the skepticism, the two Arsenals are now serious title contenders.

However, as we celebrate Bendel Insurance, it is also necessary to point out the role being played by the Edo State Government in the success story. Today, Insurance are a beautiful bride that all Edo people are proud to associate with but this wouldn’t have been possible without the unwavering support of the Godwin Obaseki-led Government.

With the assistance of his deputy, Hon. Philiph Shaibu who only recently retired from actively playing for the club, Obaseki has completely transformed Insurance into a truly professional football club. Unlike other state-owned clubs, Insurance is run professionally by sound football technocrats. The club is one of the few NPFL clubs that can boast of corporate sponsorship. The welfare of the players is a thing of priority to the Government and the management of the club. For instance, Insurance fly to match venues that are too far away from Benin City. There is indeed all-round motivation for the players. No wonder, they are moving mountains.

Therefore, it is important to reiterate that the resurrection of Bendel Insurance, a club founded 51 years ago by the Late Samuel Osaigbovo Ogbemudia is not accidental. The revival is a result of a clear vision and diligent planning on the part of those who have been assigned the duty of running the club. They have addressed most of the problems that weighed down the club in the past seasons.

We all know that when square pegs are put in square holes, things move seamlessly. But when round pegs are forced into square holes, the same fate which had befallen Kano Pillars and Katsina and is right now threatening to strike El-Kanemi Warriors, Nasarawa United, Bayelsa United, Dakkada Wikki Tourists and Kwara United becomes inevitable. Most of these NPFL clubs are being administered by cronies of some state Governors who only masquerade as football administrators. They lead the clubs by the nose to disastrous outings. For now, the case of Bendel Insurance is completely different.

VERIFIED: It is now possible to live in Nigeria and earn salary in US Dollars with premium domains, you can earn as much as $12,000 (₦18 Million).
Click here to start.