As Bendel Insurance Football Club of Benin fine-tunes their preparations for the Nigeria Premier Football League Match Day 11 game with table-toppers Lobi Stars of Makurdi, the chairman of the Edo State Sports Commission, Olympian Yusuf Alli, has thrown his weight behind the Benin Arsenals, appealing to all stakeholders, including fans, to always support the team during their games.
The Edo Sports Commission boss made the appeal when he visited the team during their training session at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin, insisting that Bendel Insurance FC needs encouragement and morale-boosting chants and cheers from their people this time more than ever, as the league is getting tougher with some unexpected results being posted against big teams before their fans.
"Let me apologize to you guys over the unpleasant experience with some persons (fans) after your game with Kwara Utd, which ended in a 2-2 draw.
"We have a report on the match, and we have been able to identify the fans involved in the attempt to assault the head coach and some other officials and two players because of the 2-2 draw result.
"We want the fans and others to know that we, as the government, will not accept such behavior.
"We have identified those involved, and we have informed the Governor about the incident; we have also mandated our security personnel to be at alert to deal with such situations.
"I want to use this opportunity to advise fans to learn how to control their temper because if such happens again, those involved will not be seen as supporters and fans but as hooligans who deliberately plan to bring the game into disrepute.
"As far as we are concerned, our darling team has not disappointed us. They have been good. We should understand that the game of football has improved in Nigeria.
"The must-win at home is no longer there. Some big teams have lost at home this season.
"Thank God we haven't lost at home, and we have also been able to get some away draws, so why are we so angry when a well-prepared team also comes here and gets a draw? That's football; you win some, draw and lose some.
"We want you to know that the government is behind you; we are solidly behind you, and we expect you to continue to work hard to get it right.
"We want our team to improve. We will continue to support you to get better.
"We appreciate all your efforts so far. The Governor will soon receive you people on the Federation cup you won. Government does not joke with your welfare." Alli assured.
The Edo Sports Commission chairman said that it is appalling that the home team is made to feel like the away team when playing at home.
"It is appalling that some persons among the fans are making our team feel like they're not playing at home. We will not condone that.
"Our team should feel comfortable and secure while playing at home. It is our responsibility to protect and support them, and we will continue to do that." He maintained.
Bendel Insurance FC will be playing host to Lobi Stars of Makurdi in the Match Day 11 game at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium on Saturday with a kick-off time of 4:00 p.m.
After Match Day 10: Bendel Insurance has 14 points. They have managed to win three matches. Bendel Insurance had drawn with defeats in the current competition: 5 and 2, respectively.
The Monday Osagie-tutored team more often in the 2nd half, 0 is the percentage of goals conceded, while they manage to score mainly in the second half of the match - 0 scored. In-home matches, they show fairly average scored and conceded rates - 2 and 0.5 missed.
League leaders have an amazing 20 goals scored after 10 matches - it would be extremely difficult to imagine a better alignment for Lobi Stars. This team really continues to sweep away all obstacles in its path; this is evidenced by the statistics - 6 wins, 2 draws, 2 defeats.
On average, they score 1.4 at 0.8. There is no doubt that this team is now on a powerful emotional upsurge. But whether they will be able to translate it into another victory, we will soon find out.
Head to head: Currently, Bendel Insurance FC is ranked 8th on the 2023/2024 Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) table, while Lobi Stars hold 1st position.
Since 2019, Bendel Insurance FC and Lobi Stars FC had 4 competitions among which there were 1 win for Bendel Insurance FC while 2 played in draw. Bendel Insurance FC - Lobi Stars (03.06.2023) 0:0 Lobi Stars - Bendel Insurance FC (09.05.2019) 1:0 Lobi Stars - Bendel Insurance FC (08.05.2019) 0:0 Bendel Insurance FC - Lobi Stars (04.02.2019) 1:0.
Prediction: A dicey situation at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium.