The Robo Football Club of Lagos has emerged winners of the second edition of the Betsy Obaseki Women Football Tournament (BOWFT), which came to a colorful close on Friday.
The hard-fighting Robo FC beat the host Edo Queens 1-0 to lift the tournament trophy at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin.
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 football championship, is a brainchild of the Wife of the Edo State Governor, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki. The tournament themed, ‘Say No to Drugs’ is aimed at raising awareness on the adverse effects of drug abuse among youths.
A seminar/lecture was also organised as 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 were the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki; his deputy, 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 the Chairperson of the Nigeria Governors’ Wives Forum and First Lady of Ekiti State, Olabisi Fayemi, among others.
Others were wife of Edo State deputy governor, Maryann Shaibu, the Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly, Marcus Onobun; Chairman Edo Sports Commission, Yusuf Ali, among others.
Welcoming guests to the event, at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City, 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’.
On his part, Dare commended the governor, his deputy and the Edo first lady for the well-organised pre-season tournament, stating that “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 sports.”
“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 speaking, Mrs. 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 is 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 includes 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.”
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 goal 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 shoot-out after both teams failed to find the back of the net after 90 minutes of epic battle and 30 minutes 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 at the group stage, we shouldn’t have lost against FC Robo at 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.”
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.