From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
Elite women football league clubsides, totaling 12 will square up against each other for a week-long N10 million prize money maiden edition of Betsy Obaseki Women Football Tournament (BOWFT) taking place in Benin, Edo State.
Tournament financier and Wife of the Edo State Governor, Betsy Obaseki, who made the disclosure at a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, said that the tournament will hold between Sunday, September 26, through Monday, October 4.
She announced that the full list of the participating teams include Edo, Bayelsa, Sunshine, Heartland, Royal, Confluence, Kaduna Queens, Naija Ratels, Fortress Ladies, Rolly FC Rivers Angels and Robo FC.
Throwing more light on the price money, Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu, revealed that while the tournament champion gets N3 million, the first and second runners up will get N2 million and N1 million respectively.
While assuring that the tournament will comform with international best practices, the Deputy Governor announced that all the other participating teams will smile home with a whooping N500,000 each.
‘The upcoming maiden edition of BOWFT is scheduled to hold in the ancient city of Benin between Sunday, September 26, through Monday, October 4, 2021.
‘Four venues have been scheduled to host this tournament. These are the University of Benin Sports Complex, Western Boys High School, School of Health Technology Football Complex and the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium.
’12 prestigious women football clubs in the country have confirmed their attendance and participation. The teams will be arriving Benin City on Sunday, September 26, 2021. Our medical team has been put on standby to carry out the rapid test on all the players and officials on arrival in line with COVID-19 protocols.
‘The draws for the tournament will hold that same day under the full glare of the media and will be streamed live online to ensure credibility and transparency.
‘The first matches would be played in the morning at the three earlier mentioned venues on Monday, September 27 while the opening event will hold at Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium at 4pm featuring the last match of the day.
‘The finals of the tournament will be played on Sunday, October 3, 2021 after which trophies and consolation prizes will be handed over to participating clubs.
‘The theme of this tournament is “Promoting the Girl Child”. You may wonder over reason for the choice of this theme. Prior to the inception of my husband’s administration, human trafficking was rife in Edo State with Edo occupying the ignoble position of being the foremost illicit trade.
‘Five years down the line, Edo has moved to number five in the nation, owing to the commitment of this administration to job creation, infrastructural development, human capital development and the sheer will to tackle this menace headlong through innovative solutions.
‘From the onset, I have delighted in my role in supportive capacity to tackling this menace and other forms of gender based violence through various initiatives targeted at the girl child. Among them are the Edo Women for Agriculture and Enterprise, Betsy Angels Shelter, Edo Youth Academy among others.
‘Our efforts in tackling gender based violence have also been yielding results culminating in the inauguration of the Edo State Gender Based Violence Management Committee which I chair.
Sports is not only a career, means of self expression, empowerment opportunity but is also therapeutic.
‘BOWFT will be another veritable avenue in achieving this goal as it affords our girls the opportunity to showcase their skills and also provide mentors for those aspiring for future careers in the featured line of sports, promote the sporting industry among grassroot women and girls.
‘In addition to encouraging female participation in the sporting industry, the economic benefits that such a tournament will yeild to those residing around points of play will be immense particularly in the hospitality industry, food vendors and transportation industry,’ she noted.
Giving further breakdown, Deputy Governor, Shaibu said: ‘The tournament will conform with international and FIFA standards. As for the price money, the tournament winner will get N3 million, second will get N2 million while the third place will get N1 million. And for your information, there is going to be losers game in line with international standards to determine the second runners up.’
‘AIt is also worthy of note that this tournament is funded by development partners and not the state government as we are embracing this initiative as a means of achieving sustainable growth in the sports industry in Edo State.’