…holds draws, unveils mascots, theme song for third edition of annual tourney
…Edo First Lady hails Edo Queens for Sheroes Cup victory, rewards team
The Edo State First Lady, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki, has said the Betsy Obaseki Women Football Tournament (BOWFT) has continued to receive increased private sector sponsorship which will ensure that the tournament is sustained beyond 2024.
She noted that since the tournament’s inception, it has kept pushing for the development of young girls in Nigeria using football as a platform.
The First Lady of Edo State said this at the draw of the third edition of the BOWFT, themed, "End Gender-Based Violence,” held at the Presidential Villa, in Government House, Benin City.
The official mascot and theme song for the third edition of the annual Betsy Obaseki Women Football Tournament which will commence on Monday, October 23rd, 2023 with 13 female teams battling for pre-season glory, was also unveiled.
Per the draw, Edo Queens, Naija Ratels, Remo Stars are drawn in Group A; Nasarawa Amazons, Bayelsa Queens, Confluence Queens, Group B; FC Robo, Fortress FC, Heartland Queens, Rivers Angel, Group C while Delta Queens, Ekiti Queens and Osun Babes FC are in Group D.
Mrs. Obaseki noted that since its first edition, the tournament has continued to grow and the organisers have kept to the promise of ensuring standard and world-class recognition, adding that the BOWFT has been recognized by FIFA, the world football governing body.
According to her, “This tournament is private sector-driven and it has nothing to do with the Edo State Government as the tournament will continue to be held even after my husband leaves office as it's funded by the private sector.
“Sponsorship for this tournament continues to increase every year because corporate entities see what we are doing and they have begun to identify with the tournament. We got an award from FIFA for the tournament and this gave us international recognition.”
Betsy Obaseki said most of the clubs participating in the pre-season tournament play in the top female league in Nigeria except two others amateur teams from Edo State brought in to be groomed, trained and exposed.
She added, “This is geared towards creating a pathway for girls to excel in this noble football career.
“The governor has fought to eradicate human trafficking and illegal migration in the State and this tournament has added value to that fight and today Edo State which used to be number one is nowhere near number 10.”
On other activities lined up for the tournament, she said, “The tournament also has a seminar on the side where speakers are brought in to discuss issues affecting the girl-child. In the first edition, the theme was “Promoting the Girl-Child”. For the second edition, we had “Fight Against Drug Abuse”. This year’s edition is “End Gender-Based Violence.”
Betsy Obaseki, who received a trophy won by Edo Queens at the 6th edition of the Sheroes Cup organized by Ratels Sports Development Foundation, Abuja, rewarded the female team with N1 million, charging them to ensure that they win the third edition of BOWFT in Benin City.”
The female Football teams in this year’s tournament are representing Nasarawa, Edo, Bayelsa, Lagos, Ekiti, Ogun, Imo and Osun States.
Guests at the event include sports editors from media houses across the nation; Executive Chairman Edo State Sports Commission, Yusuf Ali; former Chairman, Edo State Football Association, Frank Ilaboya, amongst others.