Shooting Stars boss, Mutiu Adepoju, has spoken about his greatest challenges in the passing season, and stresses that his ultimate dream is to cap 3SCâ€™s sweet promotion by leading the club back to the continent.
Adepoju, who jetted out of the country on Saturday to be with his family in Spain, led the former African champions back to the Nigeria Premier League after a grueling, tension-filled tenure as General Manager and Technical Director of the team.
â€œI wish to thank the whole management and staff of 3SC, the Technical Crew and the fans, and above all the government of His Excellency Otunba Christopher Adebayo Alao-Akala for working together in making our dream a reality.
â€œItâ€™s a pity we lost to Enyimba in the quarter-finals of the Federation Cup, but I am proud to say that 3SC has shown that it can play against the very best of Nigerian football. We are indeed proud of our overall achievement.
â€œAt the start of the season things were somewhat difficult for us. Funds were hard to come by, and we were in the habit of going cap in hand to corporate bodies and individuals to solicit assistance in cash and in kind. But somehow as the season wore on things began to take shape, and that proved to be the turning point for us.
â€œThe race for promotion was full of intrigues and pitfalls, but I thank God that at the end of the day we were able to surmount all the obstacles,â€ he said.
Adepoju, a Nations Cup gold-medalist and a member of Nigeriaâ€™s World Cup squads of 1994, 1998 and 2002, also reflected on the brief but worrisome fansâ€™ unrest that could have cost the team a berth in the Premier League.
â€œWe had a little problem with our supporters when we drew two crucial matches (against Bendel Insurance and Prime FC) at home thereby throwing away four valuable points. That, to me, was one of the biggest challenges of the season.
â€œActually, every game was a challenge because every team wanted to beat Shooting Stars. But again I thank God for giving us the edge against our opponents.
â€œOur target for the coming season is to regain the status of old. I am not making any promises but we will be sticking to our normal style of taking things step by step. The first thing is to consolidate on our achievement and move on gradually.
â€œIn other words we intend to make 3SC the best brand in Nigerian football by taking the club back to its glory days. Here we have a rich historical and cultural background, and, as the first team to bring continental glory to Nigeria I think we deserve some respect,â€ he noted.