Ondo Govt Disbands Sunshine Stars Football Club Over Poor Performance
The Ondo State Government on Tuesday ordered the disbandment of Nigeria Professional Football League side Sunshine Stars of Akure with immediate effect.
It was gathered that the action of the government was due to the poor performance of the team in the last Nigeria Professional Football League season.
A statement issued by the state Commissioner for Youth Development and Sports, Mr. Saka Yusuf-Ogunleye, said the action of the state government affected all the players and the entire technical crew of the NPFL side.
The statement titled ‘Dissolution of Sunshine Stars technical crew, staff and players with immediate effect,’ read in part, “Following the directive of Mr. Governor to reposition Ondo State Football Agency for better performance and effective output, it has become necessary to dissolve the technical crew, technical pool staff, and players of the Sunshine Stars Football Club of Akure.
“It is on record that the team managed to escape relegation last season and ended in the 18th position out of the 20 teams that participated at the just-concluded football season.
“However, the crises, which rocked the NFF during the season, gave automatic tickets to all the teams for the new season that saved Sunshine Stars from being relegated. The team also lost out in the AITEO-FA sponsored competition this year.
“In view of these poor performances, it has become necessary to reposition the team for better performance during the forthcoming season.
“We wish to appreciate the efforts and contributions of affected staff for their past contributions as management of the board has been directed to take notice of payment of affected staff and their salaries.”
The captain of the team, Sunday Abe, when contacted on the telephone, however, said he was unaware of the development.
“I’m just hearing about it, but I will confirm from the commissioner” he stated.
However, a member of the coaching crew of Sunshine Stars, who spoke to one of our correspondent on the condition of anonymity, wondered why the state would disband the club without first paying five-month salaries and match allowances owed players and officials.
“How can they disband the club when players and officials still have one-year contracts? We are owed five months salaries and allowances, but they overlooked that to disband the club. They should have paid us first before disbanding the club. They are killing football in Ondo,” he stated.
Our source added that Sunshine wouldn’t have placed 18th last season but for a popular political thug in Akure, who assaulted match officials during the club’s NPFL tie versus Kano Pillars last season.
The League Management Company consequently deducted three points and fined the Akure side N1.5m last February.
“A political thug Gboyega was the one who assaulted the ref, not the fans, players or officials; but nothing was done to him. If the three points weren’t deducted, we would have placed above the 18th position we found ourselves at the end of the season,” our source added.
One of our correspondents placed several calls to LMC’s Chief Operating Officer Salisu Abubakar’s phone on Tuesday but he didn’t pick or return the calls. He also didn’t reply to an SMS sent to him on the league body’s position on the development.