Edo State’s men’s hockey team on Saturday made a losing return to the National Hockey League following a nine-year absence, after Police Machine triumphed over them 1-0 in their opening match at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.

Edo teams have been conspicuously absent from the event, but Patron, Edo State Hockey Association, Abu Inu Umoru, played a major role in Edo’s return to action by funding both teams’ camping, preparations and participation in the league.

Inu Umoru, the CEO, Hartland Group of Companies, played hockey while schooling at Our Lady of Fatima College, Auchi.

Hockey in Edo State has witnessed a positive turnaround following the inauguration of the Dr Walter Imoedemhe-led Edo State Hockey Association board in April by Governor Godwin Obaseki.

EDSHA, in line with the state government’s developmental efforts, has opened four hockey centres in the state, with the first Edo Quadrangular Championship planned for September in Benin City.

“We recognise government cannot do all alone. Hence our efforts  to seek support from partners. More importantly, we also recognise that athletes have a legitimate expectations of support from our government,” EDSHA boss Imoedemhe, a former national team star, stated.

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