By Jethro Ibileke
Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, has formally announced his retirement from professional football.
He made the announcement Friday night, at a post match press conference, shortly after Bendel Insurance FC’s last match of the Nigerian National League (NNL), against Vandrezzer FC of Lagos.
The Benin Arsenal won the week 22 by a lone goal to end the 2021/2022 soccer season, amidst wild jubilation among the fans and supporters at Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, venue of the NNL encounter.
Shaibu while addressing journalists, said he was elated that his six years sojourn with the Benin side ended without any injury, but rather, helping the club win a ticket to the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL).
He commended all 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 thank the stakeholders in Bendel Insurance for this historic moment of retiring with jersey number 40. It is first of its kind and I am so excited and happy about it,” he said, adding that he was more elated that his commitment to and rebranding of Bendel Insurance FC yielded the desired result.
The Edo deputy governor, who recounted his football stints in the Federal Capital Territory with YSFON U20, 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.
He noted that the qualification of Bendel Insurance for the NPFL was his happiest moment in his football career, even beyond the gold medal he won for Edo during the 20th National Sports Festival.
Shaibu urged Coach Monday Odigie to live up to the bidding in the NPFL, assuring the club of necessary state government’s support, noting that the club could not afford to go back to the lower league again, as they were back to where they rightly belonged.