Football enthusiasts in Edo State are brimming with anticipation as the State capital, Benin City, wears new look, with different parts of the city painted in yellow, the iconic hues of Bendel Insurance, as the Benin Arsenals get set for the highly-anticipated CAF Qualifiers clash with Renaissance Sportive de Berkane (RSB) of Morocco.
The Edo-based Benin Arsenals will play host to the 2021/2022 CAF Confederation Cup winners this Saturday, September 16, 2023, at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, in the first leg of the Second Qualifying Round of the competition. The teams will battle for 90 minutes for a place in the group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup Competition.
The Benin Arsenals who are Nigeria’s Federation Cup holders, secured their spot in the Second Round of the CAF Confederations Cup after an impressive first and second-leg performance against Aso Chlef of Algeria, who are the 2022/23 Algerian Cup winners.
There are improved economic activities in the city centre as local businesses have seized the opportunity to capitalise on the feverish excitement, witnessing increasing sales with several vendors selling the team’s merchandise, such as jerseys, flags, and scarves at every nook and cranny of the city.
The Chief Press Secretary to the Edo State Governor, Andrew Okungbowa, while speaking to journalists ahead of Saturday’s continental showdown, urged the people to come out in their numbers to cheer the team to victory.
He said, “Our team has been enjoying the best of support from the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led state government. They have been preparing tirelessly for this all-important Saturday encounter and are ready to give their all on the pitch and perform at their best. We are sure of victory after 90 minutes of electrifying football experience.”
On the atmosphere ahead of the encounter, Okungbowa noted, “We can feel the energy on the streets of Benin even outside the city. The excitement is palpable, and fans are counting down to the kickoff, hoping for a memorable encounter that will be talked about for years to come.”
He added, “Governor Godwin Obaseki has given us a matching order to mobilise Edo people just as we did in the first leg against Aso Chlef last month. We will continue to mobilise our people to ensure they come out in their numbers to give our team overwhelming and rousing support to victory on Saturday.”
Okungbowa also disclosed that as part of this mobilisation, free bus services would be offered across 12 different locations of the city to take supporters and fans to and from the stadium on match day, utilising the services of the States’ transport company, ECTS.
He enjoined the people to take advantage of this offer by Governor Obaseki, who is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the 12,000 capacity stadium is filled to the brim by the people in support of the team and cheering the team to victory.