Monday, June 17, 2024

Bendel Insurance FC Begin Premier League Campaign With Akwa Utd Test In Uyo

The 2022/23 Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) will finally kick off on Sunday,January 8,2023 as scheduled with Bendel Insurance Football Club of Benin being guests to 2020/21 champions Akwa United of Uyo in the curtain raiser game of the new league season.

The league is in abridged format as designed by the interim management Company headed by its chairman Gbenga Elegbeleye which received the nod of the Nigeria Football Federation and lastly that of the twenty participating Club owners after issues and disagreements between the League Organisers and club representatives on the league format.

The rest MatchDay1 fixtures earlier scheduled to hold simultaneously with Akwa Utd-Insurance game have been rescheduled to hold on Sunday, January 15,2023 across the various centres nationwide.

The Akwa United and Bendel Insurance game is scheduled to kick off at 4Pm at the Next of Champions pitch of Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo.

The game which is also expected to be streamed live on terrestrial TV, Bendel Insurance facebook TV and YouTube,no doubt will attract a large followership and the esteemed presence of the NFF president Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau and IMC Chairman, Sunday Elegbeleye in Uyo.

The Benin Arsenal will be meeting their Sunday game hosts Akwa Utd for the first time since 2008 before their relegation to the NNL.

Insurance returned to the premier league in 2019 after ten years in relegation but were not in the same group with Akwa Utd in the abridged League which was not favourable to all the four promoted clubs as the Benin Arsenal immediately returned to the second tier League.

The Benin Arsenals are again made to play in another abridged format this season but have been working hard and have fortified their side in a bid to avoid a repeat of the 2019 setback.

Insurance have so far registered about thirty players to begin the new season with a blend of enterprising young and experienced players as they aimed to retain their new status as Nigeria premier league club.
They parade the likes of Imade Osarenkhoe, Iyeanyi Okorogha, Divine Nwachukwu, Benjamin Tanimu and Sunday Anyanwu who were among the best players and highest goal scorers in the last season of the Nigeria National League (NNL).

The Benin Arsenals now have some experienced NPFL players in their fold including Austin Ogunye,Ebuka Akobundu both signed from Sunshine Stars; Osas Okoro(Nasarawa utd);Micah Ojodomo and Julius Emiloju (MFM) and Ebeneza Odeyrmi from Gombe Utd among others.

Insurance FC are better prepared this time for the premier league rigours by coach Monday Odigie who returned from study leave to take the team back to the top flight league for the second time between 2018 and now. Coach Odigie left the club after the 2019 for study abroad and returned in 2021/22 season and immediately guided the Benin Arsenals to the NPFL again.

According to the Insurance Technical Director Monday Odigie, after his team defeated Rangers International FC of Enugu in the NPFL-Dozzy Super Cup preseason tournament in Lagos,” Bendel Insurance FC is work in progress. We are still building and with God helping us we will produce a formidable team that will not only vie for NPFL titles but one that can intimidate big teams at CAF competitions. We are not there yet but it is our desire to build a solid team.”

Insurance finished as best and champions of the Nigeria National League NNL campaign last year and they are in the premier league to fight for a permanent stay and as well vie for honours.

Speaking ahead the Sunday game,Insurance stand-in captain Efe Enabulele said,” We have respect for the 2020/21 NPFL champions but not afraid of our host or any other team in the League. We will be approaching the game with confidence and strength”.

On the other hand,Akwa United were not fantastic in their last season campaign as they were in 2021 but that will not make Insurance complacent and underestimate the Promise Keepers who will be enjoying the cheers from their home fans and other home support.

The game however promises to be explosive and bring out the best in Insurance FC.

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