Home News 3SC Failure And Good Old Days Of Nigerian Football | Nurudeen Obalola

3SC Failure And Good Old Days Of Nigerian Football | Nurudeen Obalola

I’m not a fan of Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) of Ibadan. As a matter of fact, it’s an opportunity for me to troll my friends who support the club anytime they lose. But then 3SC lost their bid to return to the Nigeria Professional Football League after a 3-0 defeat to Akwa Starlets in the promotion playoffs on Monday and it wasn’t something to really laugh about.
The Oluyole Warriors, one of the truly traditional football clubs in this country, have spent more seasons, in recent years, in the second- tier Nigeria National League than in the top flight NPFL. So while it was fleetingly satisfying that 3SC lost yet again, the defeat got me wondering about the decline and demise of the big traditional clubs that used to draw massive crowds back in the days. When compared to many of their contemporaries, 3SC are miles better.
At least the Ibadan club are still alive and breathing, even if they’re constantly gasping for air. The only other ones that are still very much visible aren’t many: Enugu Rangers, Kano Pillars, El-Kanemi Warriors and Bendel Insurance.
These days huge clubs like Sharks of Port Harcourt, Rangers’ Enugu rivals Vasco da Gama, Water Corporation of Ibadan, Leventis United, Abiola Babes, Mighty Jets of Jos and Ranchers Bees up north are either no more or in obscurity in the lower leagues. In Lagos especially, we had so many big clubs in the 1980s and 1990s that there could have been a mini-league of super clubs. ACB, NEPA and Julius Berger were all in Lagos and all of them rivalled Stationery Stores, once touted as the most popular football club in Nigeria.
Every single one of these clubs is defunct, bar Stores whose numerous attempts to return to their glory days have failed. The Flaming Flamingoes are now barely a footnote in the current story of Nigerian football and just about exist.
One thing most of these defunct or struggling clubs have in common is that they were all privately funded or financed by big corporations in their heyday.
Currently, state governments own around 80 percent of the clubs in the NPFL and the NNL. And these clubs are run just like the states that control them: incompetently, with no accountability and no need to turn in profits.
The administrators wait every year for their clubs’ needs to be included in the state budgets, collect the funds and make no attempts to generate their own revenue. The footballers are housed in deplorable conditions, they make hazardous road trips and by the end of the season players’ and coaches’ entitlements are not paid in full. Because government funds are readily available to play with, these club officials have not bothered to find creative ways to bring in money to run the clubs.
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