Protocols. I am writing this message from Bronx, New York, USA, after confirming the sad news of (yet, another) 3SC relegation from the National Premier League, from Alhaji Wasii Emiola, at 10.11am (3.11pm Nigerian Time) today.
Why the need to state my USA location? I wish to let my dear reader know that I am far away from home, and by extension, my library in Ibadan, Oyo State of Nigeria. This makes it uneasy for me to quote exact dates, names and places, a trait I am known for, in this piece on the Shooting Stars FC, a subsidiary of the Three (3)Sports Club(3SC), formed to promote and participate in soccer, field and tracks sports
– I was part of the military government of the old Oyo State under the then Lt.-Col (now a retired Major-General)Oladayo Popoola, who saddled Coach Adegboye Onigbinde, in 1985, with the duty of repositioning the former IICC FC.
Next, why will the(fifth?) relegation of Shooting Stars FC bother me so much? Following is why, sir/ma.
I opened this piece with the statement that it was Alhaji Emiola who I contacted to confirm the news of 3SC FC relegation. Why did I contact Wasii?
I took him along to my self-inspired (YOU ARE CLOSE TO RELEGATION)meeting with the Management and players of the 3SC FC in 2011 at the ‘Lekan Salami Sports Complex (erroneously called ‘Lekan Salami Stadium) Adamasingba, Ibadan, Oyo State. That AVOID RELEGATION meeting was covered, on my invitation, by the print and electronic media, with ALL THE EXPENSES BORNE BY ME.
I called the WAKE-UP meeting then, because 3SC,as our fathers and mothers would warn a sloven or laggard,” Nfi ijakule run ‘mu”.
Thank God for His mercies,3SC FC escaped relegation that season. Nigeria’s internationa,Mutiu Adepoju (then 3SCHead Coach,Jubril Arowolo(PRO),players and other technical crew would tell anyone who asks,of my breathing down their necks, each time they wobbled and fumbled.
Before them,the late Coach Dejo Fayemi, Niyi Ladipo, Sam Ojebode and the living Coach Niyi Akande, Felix Owolabi Akinloye etc knew/know that my conversations with them anywhere would start with my enquiries about Shooting Stars FC.
So, what are the reasons for my deep emotional attachment to the Shooting Stars FC?
First, the world -known greatest individual financier/mentor of 3SC FC, formerly known as Ibadan Lions FC, WNDC FC,IICC FC, the late Chief ‘Lekan Salami, was a friend of my dear late father, Pa AbdulRahim Oladosu Alabi, alias “Right Time”. Chief Salami and his late bosom friend, Alhaji Alimi Adesokan, alias “Leemy”,were the Masters of Ceremonies at my naming in our family compound, Ile Ekerin Ajengbe,SW1/131,Ibadan on 3rd November,1950. Yusuf Olatunji, alias “Baba l’Egba”, and his band played at my naming.
Secondly, I, in my capacity as the Press Secretary to the Military Governor, signed the old Oyo State Military Government’s press statement in December 1984, announcing the disbandment of the IICC Shooting Stars FC, after its avoidable loss of that year’s Cup of Champions (home) final match at the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos State.
When the club was restarted and repositioned, under Coach Onigbinde and the late Chief Ogunsina-led Board of Directors, I was very visible.
From the foregoing, the reasons for my deep attachment/support to Shooting Stars FC can now be easily understood.
It saddens my heart, each time we all watch Shooting Stars FC, the soccer team to win the first (1976) and second (1990) continental cups for Nigeria go down to division two.
Pity, the hawk has again descended to pick grains with hens on the dump.
Please read my published articles, “Win this for ‘Lekan” published in The Guardian newspaper sometime in 1990,”These Stars Must Shoot Again” and “These Stars Are Shooting Again “published at different times in major Nigerian newspapers and magazines between 2003 and 2015.
In those articles, I warned t Oyo State governments (military and civilian) management, players, fans, stakeholders, public etc. to always learn their lessons from each fall of the great football club make amends and prevent recurrences.
I, again, pray for Shooting Stars FC’s immediate return to its deserved spot on the NPL.