The Edo State First Lady, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki has said the just-concluded Betsy Obaseki Women Football Tournament (BOWFT) will guarantee better opportunities for the girl-child, reassuring the government’s commitment to ensuring that every female child in the state realizes her fullest potentials.
The tournament, with the theme, ‘promoting the girl-child,’ ended at the weekend with the 2021 Aiteo Cup champions, Bayelsa Queens defeating Rivers Angels to win the maiden edition of the competition, which is aimed at harnessing sporting talents in the state and tackling the scourge of irregular migration among teenage girls.
Dignitaries at the closing ceremony include Edo State Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Comr. Philip Shaibu; Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare; former Governor of Edo State, Chief Lucky Igbinedion; wife of Osun State Governor and Chairman Southern Governor’s Wives Forum, Mrs. Kafayat Oyetola and wife of Bayelsa State Governor, Mrs. Gloria Diri, amongst others.
According to Mrs. Obaseki, “What we have seen and experienced in the last one week of this tournament is the highest form of professionalism in Nigerian football.
“We had three major goals in mind when we crafted this tournament. One of the goals was to recapture our God-given position as the foremost sporting state in Nigeria and the custodian and pacesetter of all team sports in the country.
“It’s also to create a platform and an opportunity for young girls all over Nigeria and Edo State in particular. It will enable them to build a career in football and develop their capacity so that they can become professional footballers.
“The third objective is to create a world-class women’s football tournament as a way of providing avenues to qualifying women teams across Nigeria; it will help to prepare them for the main season’s games. This game is a pre-season tournament to provide our girls the opportunities to grow their talents better and acquire new skills and techniques. This is expected to ensure professionalism, enabling them to succeed year after year,” she added.
The first lady commended the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki; his deputy, Shaibu and other members of the state’s executive council for their support towards the success of the tournament. She also thanked the 12 participating teams.
She noted: “We have plans for Edo Queens to make each of the girls adopt a female school in the state and organize a pre-season game or competition to mentor the girls at their adopted schools, exposing them to football. This will help us discover new talents in order to get to the destination of becoming the number one state in all sports in Nigeria.
“With this tournament, we will continuously push for the wellbeing of the girl-child and it will be our prime target, putting all the issues affecting them on the front burner. What we are seeking with this tournament is to advocate against human trafficking and drug abuse amongst the youths, as well as push for education for the girl-child.”