The chairman of Shooting Stars Sports Club of Ibadan, Hon Gbolagade Busari has said that the inability of the club to thrive in the nation’s top flight league was due to “under-the-table dealings” in the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF and the Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL.
Newspeakonline quoted Buso as he is fondly called as saying this on Sunday on Crossfire, a live talk show programme on Fresh FM Ibadan.
The programme, anchored by ace broadcaster, Isaac Brown, had gathered sports stakeholders in the Oyo State to discuss the troubles with Shooting Stars and the way out. Busari, who was unable to make it to the studio, called in and expressed his thoughts about the trouble with the club.
Panelists at the programme had put the bulk of the blame on Governor Abiola Ajimobi who they accused of not putting the club on his priority list as far as funding was concerned.
But Busari exonerated the governor, saying that the problem with the club had nothing to do with funding but shady deals in the league itself.
His words: The Nigerian Professional League is not what you think. What happens in the NPFL is beyond what you see on the field of play. A lot of under the table dealings are going on in the NPFL. And it is not because shooting stars is underfunded hat we are where we are. Last year when we played in the national league. We lost only one game out of 12. We won 3 away matches which is unprecedented. You cannot win away matches in the Nigerian league. When you go and play in away games, you will be pelted, you will be molested, you will be happy to come back alive. So we came out second with Bendel Insurance. We went to play super 8. A lot of under-the-table dealings went on there. And then people who are really into sports know what happened at the super 8. So, it’s not about the players and the management not doing their best or the government not funding them.
“There is a problem with the Nigeria Football Professional League, and everybody knows it. Two years ago we started the league 2017. The winner was already predicted before we went. They said Plateau United was going to win even before we kicked the ball. At the end of the day. Plateau United won. And that is why when our people go into international matches, they don’t do well, because a lot of under the table dealings are going on in their own professional league.
The club boss also said that clubs in Southwest Nigeria were not doing well in the nation’s league because the zone was not adequately represented in the NFF.
“Its not about Shooting Stars not having good players” he argued. “It is because Southwest is not well represented in the NFF where all these things are going on with the cabal. Is it by sheer coincidence that in the last five years, no team from southwest has played in international matches in Nigeria? They cannot make it because the cabal running the league knows the team they are pushing forward. Just like some people have told you over there, if you give Shooting Stars everything now, with the way the Nigerian league is structured today, they may get promoted and the next year they may get relegated again. You will see what will happen to Remo Stars….”
Busari also stated that Shooting Stars players were among the best paid in the country adding that “in the last three years, we’ve not had any problem with Shooting Stars”
He continued: “Go and ask our players, they are paid regularly. Even when civil servants were not paid, the governor said, “give Shooting Stars money to pay”. Our players are one of the best paid in the whole country, I can tell you, some Shooting Stars players are earning as much as N250,000. Somebody just told me Ayobami Junior is earning N350,000. Go and check in the national league, some people are paid N75,000, N50,000. We are paying our players Premier League salaries simply because we want them to be happy and in the last three years I became the chairman, we’ve never had a crisis. So, let me tell you, it’s not about the management or government underfunding Shooting Stars.
According to Busari, the incoming government led by Seyi Makinde will get the true picture of Shooting Stars’ situation in the handing over note.
He said: “The incoming government will give our handing over note by May 29. We’ll tell the governor the real truth on how to move the club forward. We all want it to progress.”
He also advised Makinde to retain the club’s management till the end of the current season, saying it will give the club stability and focus on the road to getting promotion.
He however stated that being a political appointee, he will no longer be in charge as Chairman when Makinde comes in.
The club chairman’s position did not however change the unanimous position of the panelists on the programme who all insisted that despite the fact that there were some truth in Busari’s submission, the state government led by Ajimobi and the management of the club were responsible for the club’s woes as they were not doing the right thing.
Members of the panel include: Hon. Adesina Adeniyi, House of Assembly member and Chairman House Committee on Sports; Morakinyo Abiodun a.k.a Morakz, sports analysts; Ayo Ademokoya, an independent sports journalist and Kenny Ogunmiloro, Fresh FM Sports broadcaster.
In the words of Morakz, Busari “must be right to some extent but that shows that the management does not know what they are doing. And the government is not even doing the right thing. If your tactical method is weak, there’s no way you can win.”
According to him, it is one thing to give money to a club, it is another to set targets on expected results.