The Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde has vowed that his administration would do all that it takes to ensure that the Ibadan-based State-owned Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) regains promotion to the Nigerian elite football league, Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) by the end of the 2019/2020 football season.
Makinde made the promise to top officials, Management, Technical Team, Coaching Crew, selected players and members of the team Supporters’ Club who paid him a courtesy call in his Agodi Governor’s Office, Secretariat, Ibadan.
The stakeholders of the team came on the visit following the failure of the Club to secure a promotion ticket from the Nigerian National League (NNL) to the NPFL, after losing 3-0 to the Akwa Starlets in the recently concluded 2018/2019 NNL in Asaba, Delta State.
After listening to remarks from different representatives from the stakeholders of the Club, Governor Makinde noted that although, he and many teeming supporters and fans of the 3SC were very disappointed at the Club’s failure to get the promotion, he would do everything possible and expected of his office to ensure that the story changes at the end of the about-to-start 2019/2020 season.
He stated that his government decided to support the team, having come from a family that had always supported the historic Oluyole Warriors, as well as to justify the teeming supporters of the Club who also feel the pains of the failure of the Club.
Makinde said, “I have heard all that you had to say, your disappointment. I am also disappointed and some of you here we have interacted before. “Some of the challenges that you have mentioned, they are surmountable. I have been in this State and I remember in the early ’80s when Leventis United got promoted from Division 3 to 2 to 1 just in a season.”
The Governor explained that 3SC is a club that generations of ‘Makindes’ had always supported.
He recalled that he played football while in school and would have become a professional footballer if not that he had told his late father that he wanted to play for Water Corporation Football Club while his father was a die-hard supporter of 3SC and that marked the end of his footballing ambition.
He stated, “I am also a die-hard supporter of 3SC. I understand that you have to be motivated, also I understand that in football and sports generally, welfare is key. We have seen athletes leave Nigeria to go adorn the colours of other countries. So, if we cannot make these things worthwhile for the players and the people charged with the administration of sports, especially football, then we will continue to have these pains, which I could see everybody felt, because we couldn’t get the promotion.”
Disclosing that the 3SC is a club with a very rich history behind it, Makinde asserted that the club should not be playing at the National League but Premiership level in Nigeria, stressing that whatever is necessary to pick up the pieces and face the future should be done without looking back so as not to fall and get injured.
Makinde claimed that his becoming the Governor of the State could be termed a miracle, and so Shooting Stars would definitely get promoted in the new season.
He said, “If it will take a miracle, it won’t be something new because you have a miracle Governor on the seat and we have to make it happened and we have to plan for it. We are going to toy with several ideas.”
The Governor also mentioned that his administration would not mix sports administration with politics, saying, “I don’t care where you belong politically, what I care about is that we have to work hard and allow 3SC to take its position in Nigerian football…Whatever policies that are good that the past administration had put in place, we will take it and run with it. Nobody should be afraid of their job because of how they came in there.”
Promising to make changes that would give the desired results, Makinde also gave the assurance that the management and the players would be motivated and the club properly funded, with the required resources and required attention fully given to the Club.
He added that a special assistant would be appointed in the governor’s office to look after the affairs of the 3SC and the Crown Football Club of Ogbomoso.
The stakeholders were led by the acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Sports, Mrs Olubisi Adegoke; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, Dr Olanrewaju Bashir; General Manager, Sports Council, Mr Gboyega Makinde; Oyo State Football Association Chairman, Oba James Odeniran; GM 3SC, Mr Rasheed Balogun; Team Manager, Mr Dimeji Lawal and 3SC Chief Coach, Mr Edith Agoye.
In their separate remarks, the Team Manager, the Team Captain and the Chief Coach, all apologised to the government and the people of Oyo State for their failure to secure the NPFL ticket, promising to make them happy in the current season.