Since Last year, Edo state has been preparing to host the National Sports Festival in Benin City. With the advent of COVID 19 and the lockdowns, the festival was postponed to this year. After a few controversies, the event finally began on Tuesday 6th April 2021.
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Sure some games had begun before then but that Tuesday was the day of the opening ceremony.
Below are a few fun facts about the sports festival which is a great tourism opportunity for those visiting Benin City, Edo state for the first time.
- The National Sports Festival (NSF) collaboration is between the Ministry of National Youths and Sports and the Edo state. Preparations have been on since 2019. This is the 20th edition of the National Sports Festival
- Besides being known as the Heartbeat of the Nation, Edo state is regarded as the home of sports development in Nigeria.
- The NSF Edo2020 Theme song was written and composed by Stephen Aluya-Ovih. The song titled “Future of Sports” was selected out of 77 entries along with the Cheetah-coloured teddy bear mascot.
- There is also a special Edo Theme song by EDO Boys about the beauty & glory of the Edo nation that has been played on radio daily during the festival as an Edo Anthem. The song can be found on Amazon Music, Soundcloud & Apple Music sites.
- It rained massively during the opening ceremony and the vice president’s plane was rerouted to another state to avoid the storm.
- Female Dancers dressed in red Edo regalia and Okuku headgear held a placard with each state’s name to welcome their athletes during the Opening Ceremony Parade. Most states used tracksuits of different colours while a state or two had traditional attire with a dance.
- The Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium (formerly known as Ogbe Stadium) is exclusively powered by the Ossimo Power plant, thereby guaranteeing 24/7 electricity during the games.
- The Stadium’s exterior has some beautiful graffiti on it, colourful air balloons and flags with the logo and mascot of the event around the premises. For the sports festival, a gold-painted traditional pot was used to house the fire of the torch to begin the games.
- The stadium has world-class standard facilities inside e.g. gymnasium, swimming pool, football pitch, etc. It is the first in the country to acquire VAR (Video Assisted Referee) equipment.
- The games were not only carried out at the Stadium. They were spread at different locations around town.
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So to watch some games, you have to visit the following locations:
- Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium Main Bowl, Ekehuan.
- University of Benin, Ugbowo.
- Imaguero College, Sapele road.
- Sports Hall, Etete.
- Oba Akenzuwa Cultural Centre, Airport road.
- Ihongbe College, ICE road.
- Emotan College, Wire road.
- Benin Club, GRA.
- Idia College, Iyaro.
- Saint Maria Gorretti, Dumez road.
- Adolor College, Ugbowo.
Going to these various locations as a spectator will allow you to have a fair tour of the sights and sounds of the city. Most events take place in the morning and end around 1 pm before others resume at 4 pm.
There is usually a three-hour break between the morning games and the evening games that should make it easy to move from one location to the next.
There is heavy security around the stadium but people are free to stroll in there to watch any sport of their choosing. Provided they know the time the event is holding.
If you missed a chance to visit Benin City for the National Sports Festival, try searching for @nsf_edo online for the highlight of the games. It is one experience you don’t want to miss.
Featured Image Source: The Guardian NG
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