Sixty-three teams including defending champions, Faith Hills FC of Makurdi, are battling for glory as the 3rd Ratels Benue State Football League kicked off in style across the three senatorial zones of Benue State.
At the official opening game decided at the McCarthy Stadium Wadata, Makurdi, Aeston FC thrashed Ghetto 3-0 with a goal from Ayaga Vitalis and a brace from the boots of Ataka Moses.
President, Ratels Sports Development Foundation (RSDF), Barrister Paul Edeh, who was one of the special guests at the opening match, said his Foundation was determined to develop sports at the grassroots.
“Like it’s often said, charity begins at home and of course Benue is my home. That’s where I did my primary, secondary and tertiary education. Unfortunately I did not do my NYSC here because the law does not permit, otherwise I would have. I think the state has given so much to me. I cannot but give back to society. I know sometimes when individuals embark on a project such as this, there’s a colouration of politics attached to it but I am glad this is the third edition of the Ratels Benue State Football League in a row. Beyond the rhetoric, I think it’s an opportunity to give back to the people. We have watched good football here and from every indication there’s hope for our football because there are numerous talents at the grassroots. That’s why I believe with just a little opportunity we can identify these talents and nurture them to stardom,” Edeh said.
Benue State director of sports, Comrade Philip Ter Nongo, lauded the partnership between RSDF and Benue State Football Association in football development.
“This partnership is yielding the desired dividends. Some of the players discovered are already playing for Lobi Stars and some other clubs in the country. Here in Benue we are very happy with the giant strides recorded so far since the competition started three years ago. I will remain eternally grateful to RSDF for leading the revolution of football development in Benue state,” Nongo stated.