Edo State deputy Governor Philip Shaibu trains with Edo Queens at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City… during the week
• ‘Bendel Insurance can get continental ticket’ Edo State deputy governor, Philip Shaibu, has given reasons why players of the state’s female club, Edo Queens, were placed on equal pay alongside their male counterparts, Bendel Insurance.
Some players of Edo Queens get as much as N350, 000 as monthly salary in addition to other financial incentives like match bonuses. It is the biggest financial package for female players in Nigeria.
However, Shaibu said that Edo Queens must justify the jumbo pay.
“Edo State is the first to break the barrier in making sure that both male and female footballers get equal monthly salary,” Shaibu told journalists after unveiling a new set of jersey for both Edo Queens and Bendel Insurance for the 2022/2023 league season.
“But the huge monthly pay for Edo Queens is performance-driven. Any player in that category of N350,000 monthly salary must work harder to remain in that category. If your performance drops, your monthly wages will drop as well. It also means that players, who are currently receiving less than N350,000, can get more if their performance increase.
“The days of playing football without adequate financial boost in Edo State, is over. Both Edo Queens and Bendel Insurance now operate in more conducive environment to get good results. I must commend Governor Godwin Obaseki for heeding to my advice on why we should pay more attention to the welfare of the players. I gave this same advice to a former governor in this state, but he turned it down because he didn’t see any reason why Edo State should spend about N300 million on what he termed play play.
“One important step this present administration has taken is to ensure that Bendel Insurance become self sustainable to avoid dropping into the same terrible financial mess it used to be in the past just in case another governor who does not like football comes into office. Now, all the money we spent in the unveiling ceremony and buying two coaster buses for the two clubs came from the cash generated by Bendel Insurance through sponsorship and sales of jersey. We want a Bendel Insurance that will live up to its old brand as the Benin Arsenal. That is why we are making plans to build a special stadium soon for the club because it carries the aspiration of Edo people,” he stated.
On the target for Bendel Insurance this season, Shaibu, who was the only Nigerian that was invited by FIFA for the opening and closing ceremony of Qatar 2022 World Cup, said: “Our target is to finish among the first three clubs. If Bendel Insurance can win the league, it will be a great one. By finishing among the top three will guarantee us a continental ticket.”
The Youth Hekima recalls that Nigerian engineering firm, Peculiar Ultimate Concerns (PUC), signed a sponsorship deal worth N35 million with Edo Queens, Sterling Bank is the financier of Bendel Insurance.
While Edo Queens currently top the Nigeria Women’s Professional League, Bendel Insurance is on top of the NPFL after beating Akwa United 2-0 in Uyo last Sunday.