By James Agberebi:
Former Nigeria and Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) midfielder Felix Owolabi has expressed sadness over the relegation of the Ibadan-based club from the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
3SC’s relegation was confirmed following Wikki Tourists 2-0 win against already relegated Gombe in their rescheduled NPFL matchday 38 clash in Maiduguri on Saturday.
Wikki Tourists’ win means they survive relegation while 3SC now join Gombe, ABS and Remo Stars in the Nigeria National League (NNL) for next season.
Owolabi, who won the now defunct CAF Cup with the Oluyole Warriors in 1992, described the relegation as a sad development.
“It is so sad that a big club like Shooting Stars is witnessing this type of experience,” the 1980 Africa Cup of Nations winner with the Green Eagles told Completesportsnigeria. com.
“In the last three or four years it’s been struggle. While others are celebrating for finishing in the top three, Shooting Stars always pray to escape relegation.
“It is not speaking well of a club that has won two continental titles for Nigeria (1976 CAF Cup Winners’ Cup and 1992 CAF Cup). I would have expected that every year, Shooting Stars would be contesting for the league title because of the its fame and popularity it commands.
“It would be nice to collaborate with corporate bodies so that the club would be a profit-oriented club side. From the look of things, I think finance was one of the reasons why Shooting Stars were relegated. We know there is recession everywhere but while others were able to manage the little they had, it was not so with Shooting Stars.
“For over 19 years, the club has not been doing very well. The last time the club won the league title was in the late nineties (1998). And since then, the story has been very bad.”
Owolabi called on the Oyo State government to look into the affairs of the club and try to revive it.
“It is my wish and hope that there is a lesson to be learnt from this,” he said.
“And what are these lessons, if you have a quality coach, quality players and good administration on the ground, no matter the challenges, you would be able to surmount it. But this was not so with Shooting Stars, it was a one-man affair.
“The onus now lies on the government to think of what to do with the club. If the government has not decided on how to fund the club very well then it is too bad.”