Robo FC emerges champions of BOWFT 2nd edition

By Isaac Olamikan

The second edition of the Betsy Obaseki Women Football Tournament (BOWFT), on Friday, came to a close amid pomp and pageantry with Robo FC of Lagos crowned as champions after beating the host Edo Queens 1-0.

The 10-day event came to a thrilling conclusion amid cheers and fanfare, featuring scintillating cultural displays, singing, dancing and drumming as well as exciting exotic displays by various groups to announce the end of the tournament.

The tournament, which is Nigeria’s only pre-season women’s football championship, is the brainchild of the Wife of the Edo State Governor, Mrs Betsy Obaseki.

The tournament themed, ‘Say No to Drugs’ is aimed at raising awareness of the adverse effects of drug abuse among youths.

A seminar/lecture was also organized as a part of the tournament bringing over 10, 000 youths, eminent personalities, guests and representatives from Nigeria’s 36 states for a discourse to advance the campaign against drug abuse, its various manifestations, impact on the sports industry and the larger society and the imperative for collective action to tackle the menace for the betterment of society.

Present at the closing ceremony are the Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki; his deputy, Rt. Hon. Comr. Philip Shaibu; Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare; former Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung, and governors’ wives from Sokoto, Enugu, Delta, Abia, Ogun, Oyo, Taraba and Bayelsa States led by Chairperson of the Nigeria Governors’ Wives Forum and First Lady of Ekiti State, Erelu Olabisi Fayemi, among others.

Others are Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Marcus Onobun; Chairman Edo Sports Commission, Yusuf Ali and Wife of Edo State Deputy Governor, Maryann Shaibu, among others.

Welcoming guests to the very colourful closing ceremony, at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City, the tournament convener and the Edo State First Lady, Mrs Betsy Obaseki, said, “I welcome you all to Edo State to witness the closing ceremony and final match of the second edition of the BOWFT happening here at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, Edo State.”

“Be reminded that the theme of this year’s tournament is ‘Say No to Drugs'” she added.

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On his part, Dare commended the governor, his deputy and the Edo first lady for the well-organised preseason tournament, “We are here again to watch the second edition of the biggest pre-season tournament in Edo State.

“What we see here today is beautiful; a world-class tournament as can be seen in other developed nations of the world. What we see here today is history and the power of women in sports is on display.

“I thank all the First Ladies here present at this football event this evening to support this vision of our First Lady, Mrs Betsy Obaseki. I appeal to them to go back home and replicate this in their various states. It can be in football or any other sport.

“At the just-concluded Commonwealth Games, 95 per cent of our medals were won by women and women are making us proud,” the Sports Minister noted.

Also, the Chairperson of the Nigeria Governors’ Wives Forum and First Lady of Ekiti State, Erelu Olanisi Fayemi noted, “I am here with a powerful delegation of governors’ wives from Sokoto, Enugu, Delta, Abia, Ogun, Oyo, Taraba and Bayelsa States.

“I bring you warm greetings from Ekiti State. We are here to support our sister Betsy Obaseki and are proud of her achievements.

“Sports are important for developing our self-esteem and discipline for our women. This year’s message is ‘say no to drugs’.

“As First Ladies, we have several issues in our minds which include sexual-based violence and drug abuse, amongst others. We are here to support this effort and say no to drugs as drugs can destroy a whole generation,” Ekiti First Lady said.

The tension-soaked match between Robo FC and Edo Queens ended with a 1-0 scoreline in favour of the Lagos-based team. The only game of the match was scored in the 24th minute of the first half by Oladeti Rukayat.

In the third place match, Delta Queens defeated Nasarawa Amazons 4-2 in a penalty shootout after both teams failed to find the back of the net after 90 minutes of an epic battle and 30 minutes of extra time.

Speaking on their victory, the Head Coach of Delta Queens FC, Tosan Blackson, expressed satisfaction with the team’s performance at the tournament, hailing the facilitator for the noble initiative.

Blackson said, “I am very happy. At least we played for pride and kept the standards. After losing a game in the group stage, we shouldn’t have lost against FC Robo in the Semifinals.

“Coming to the third place match, we knew we must get it right here. We knew the third place match was a must-win for us,” he added.

Delta Queens will be going home with the third place prize of N1.5 million cash, while Nasarawa Amazons will be leaving with a cash prize of N750,000.

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