Edo State’s Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, at the weekend announced his exit from professional football. Until his retirement, Shaibu was a player of Bendel Insurance FC, a club that he helped to secure a ticket to the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL).
The deputy governor announced his retirement in Benin at a news conference he addressed shortly after Insurance’s last match in the Nigerian National League (NNL) against Vandrezzer FC of Lagos.
Insurance won the week 22 match by a lone goal to end the 2021/2022 soccer season, amid wild jubilation among the fans and supporters at Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium.
Briefing newsmen in Benin City, Shaibu said he was elated that his six years sojourn with the Benin side ended with a ticket to the Nigerian apex league.
He commended the stakeholders, who helped to restore the past glory of the ancient football club.
“I am so excited today that in good health, I am retiring from professional football and I thank the stakeholders in Bendel Insurance for this historic moment of retiring with jersey number 40.
“It’s first of its kind and I am so excited and happy about it,” he said, noting that he was more elated that his commitment to rebranding Bendel Insurance yielded the desired result.
The deputy governor, who recounted his football stints in Federal Capital Territory with YSFON U-20, Foreign Affairs FC, as well as defunct Ijesha United and Nigerian Prisons FC, said he won all matches in the club except for a draw.
The retiring player, who noted that he exited without any injury, identified the qualification of Bendel Insurance for the NPFL as his happiest moment in his career, even beyond the gold medal he won for Edo during the 20th National Sports Festival.
He urged Coach Monday Odigie to live up to the bidding in the NPFL, assuring the club of the necessary government support.
The club, he noted, could not afford to go back to the lower league again, as they were back to where they rightly belong.
Shaibu said Edo’s present government has demonstrated genuine love for sports with the upgrade of facilities at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium and rebranding of both the state’s men and women’s football clubs.
According to him, Edo government has not only return the state as a home to sports, but a tourist site for sports development in the country.