By Oyediji Oluwaseun Babatunde
Sports Writer, kick442.com Nigeria
Top Sports firm, Ratels Sports Foundation has been unveiled as the new title sponsor of the Benue State Football League which will kick off in the first week of March.
In a press conference held at the Benue Hotels and resort, Markudi, on Friday evening, the Chairperson of the Benue State Football Association, Mrs. Margaret Icheen noted that Ratels Sports Foundation, a sports firm owned by Barrister Paul Edeh has agreed to solely sponsor the 2021 State League, which will now be known as the “Ratels Benue State Football League”.
The top football administrator and former Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly stated that the partnership between the Benue State F.A and Ratels Sports Foundation will help the tournament get new audiences than ever before.
“We know Barrister Paul Edeh as a lover of football, especially women’s football which he has been supporting from his heart.
“We are glad that his company, Ratels Sports Foundation has decided to be the sole sponsors of the 2021 Benue State Football League, which of course we know he did because of the love of football he has inside of him.
The Nigeria Women Football League board member further went on to say that the league will kick-off in the first week of March and the top team will participate at the Nigeria Nationwide League (NLO).
“The league will kick off in the first week of March and registration of clubs across the state is on, and the team that comes top will play at the NLO.
She finally stated “We want to thank you for providing all we need to make this competition a success and we hope we can rely on you and your firm for more partnership.
In his thoughts, the Chairman of Ratels Sports Foundation and President of Naija Ratels Football Club, Barrister Paul Edeh heaped praises on the leadership qualities of the Benue State Football Association boss.
The United Nations SDG Peace Ambassador noted that the sponsorship of the state Football League is a response to the repeated call of his Excellency, the Executive Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom on the private sector partnering with him to develop the state from all quarters.
“We are proud to be the title sponsor of this tournament and look forward to a long-term partnership, ” The legal luminary said.
“We didn’t hesitate when the proposal of sponsoring the state league came to us, I am from Benue state and I have been longing and craving to partner with the leadership of the state F.A.
“I forayed into sponsoring sports several years ago and recently this competition after I discovered that sports, especially the game of football is one of the key veritable tools and factors in uniting people.
“Moreso in the face of the repeated challenges that the state has been facing, such as the various attacks by the herdsmen and other communal clashes ravaging our community, definitely the game of football is one of the tools we can use to heal the wounds.
The Sports philanthropist also donated 42 premium balls for the success of the competition, stressing the need for more development in grassroots football in Benue State and Nigeria as a whole.
“We are sponsoring the league in line with the budget proposal 100%. It may interest you to know that Ratels Sports Foundation has an existing partnership with Zenith Sports, owners of Haggai Sportswear, last year we won the best brand team of Haggai, which means that no team patronised the Sports kit company more than us.
“The biggest women’s football Pre-season Championship in Africa, the Flying Officers Cup was also sponsored by Ratels Sports Foundation, which was successfully executed and received great commendations across the globe.
“This year, our vision, desire, and dream in Ratels Sports Foundation is to reach out to the grassroots, because that is one of the sectors that has been neglected both by the state and the federal government. We will do more to climb the ladder of time and also ensure that we further strengthen our partnership after the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Finally, we want to pledge our loyalty and supports to the chairperson of the Benue State F.A, Mrs. Margaret Icheen, and most especially, we are endeared to you because you are the only female chairperson in the whole of the federation.” He concluded.
This year’s Benue State Football League is expected to be the biggest ever with over 40 teams participating and is scheduled to take place at the Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi starting from the first week of March. Fixtures will be released soon after the draws.
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