The seasoned sports administrator gives reasons why he thinks the Owena Whales have struggled this season to impress on the Nigerian top flight
Former director general of the National Sports Commission, Gbenga Elegbeleye, gives reasons why Sunshine Stars have struggled this season to impress in the Nigeria Professional Football League.
After their semi-final in the Caf Champions League in 2012 — to which they were sent by eventual champion Al Ahly — many predicted that the Owena Whales would become a dominant force on the local scene.
This optimism has yet to become a reality as the Akureor outfit struggled to impress the season in the Nigerian top flight, season in and season out.
As the 2020-21 campaign comes to an end on Thursday, Sunshine is languishing in the relegation zone – occupying 17th place with 42 points from 37 games.
To avoid relegation, they must defeat Rivers United at home while hoping Heartland, Abia Warriors, Jigawa Golden Stars or Wikki Tourist falter on the final day.
Purpose takes one of the club’s oldest statesmen into an unlimited conversation to find out why the Stars have dimmed this campaign.
Elegbeleye was a member of the ministerial committee for reform of the football administration in Nigeria and former president of the Youth Sports Federation of Nigeria, Ondo State.
‘The fans are more of an issue for the club. “You can imagine Sunshine Stars being evicted from its own soil due to the reckless actions of their own fans,” he said. Purpose.
‘They are banned by the LMC to places like Ijebu Ode and Lagos where they play their home matches. Games played there are like away games because the home support would not be there.
“It did not work well for the team. On top of that, you are considering logistical issues and a lot of money that you have to spend to get out of your comfort zone to play in an unfamiliar environment.
Furthermore, he pointed to the non-payment of players ‘and officials’ salaries, while questioning the intentions of some of the club’s big wigs.
‘Before Governor Rotimi Akeredolu was sworn in, the team’s players and officials owed salaries of eight to ten months. How do you expect them to get results on an empty stomach? He asks.
‘The morale of the players was so low because so many of them were breadwinners of their families. So, how would they be expected to deliver their best?
‘As you know, a hungry man is an angry man. These are some of the major issues facing Sunshine Stars.
‘I’m sorry to say, a lot of people want to be part of running the club because of the benefits they think they can get.
“They did not realize that in football it is not about what you get, but what you want to give. I remember when I would pay these players winning bonuses out of my pocket.
‘My dream is to see Sunshine Stars players get transport to Europe and play for the Super Eagles. It should be the vision, not people looking for benefits from the team. ”
Even on the unfortunate picture he painted, he does not rule out the ability of the men of Deji Ayeni to avoid the relegation to the Nigerian second tier.
“For me, it is possible to escape the degradation. “After winning Enyimba, they only need to win their last home game against Rivers United,” he added.
“I believe it is very possible. But every slip will make things harder. Sunshine must work hard. ”