Bayelsa United FC winners of the Globacom Premier League last season are definitely not enjoying a run this season.
The team which shorn like a thousand stars are today languishing at the bottom of the league table and people have begun to ask questions. A backlog of salaries and bonuses, has seen the players give very little during the on-going season and that has seen the team battling in the relegation zone.
Former Bayelsa United coach Monday Odigie who led the team to lifting the Globacom Premier league trophy last season was the first to dump the team when it became obvious that the management were beginning to treat the players like trash.
And he was first to lament the poor treatment meted out to the players who did every last season to put Bayelsaâ€™s name in the record books. Odigie was furious with the way the management treated the players and said he would only return to the side should things change for the better.â€
I am not fighting for myself but for the welfare of the players. It is sad what they are doing to the playersâ€, he was quoted to have said in a sports radio programme.
NFF board member Peter Singabele when contacted by Inside Out of the Glo Premier League, was equally worried about the state of the team and its future. â€œLast season, the team succeeded because there was team work. Everybody contributed the success recorded by the team. But this season, the chairman decided to run the show by himself.
He ignored everyone who made success possible last year and is doing things his own way. He fought the technical crew because he wanted one of his siblings to take charge of the team.
â€œWhen you say a team, everybody works like a family. The players are still there and but he has neglected everybody. He has not even paid the players this season and they are complaining.
Last season he paid 30 percent and the players are wondering what is happening. When the governor said he has spent N850m,Â the players were surprised and are asking questions too. If the governor has released money why have they (players) not been paidâ€, Singabele said.
According to him, the playerâ€™s morale is very low now and as they resumed from the Christmas break, there is no assurance that their fortune in the league will change. Bayelsa takes on Enyimba tomorrow in Aba and will on Wednesday visit Sunshine Stars in Akure. Bayelsa can not beat their chest of picking a point from both matches.
Owing to the string of poor performance in the league, Governor Sylva said he would privatize the team. Governor Timipre Sylva last week declared that the state intends to privatize the state owned Bayelsa United FC by January 2010 due to its huge debt burden arising from unpaid sign on fees and match bonuses of player and officials.
He stated that his administration has spent over N850m this year but has nothing to show for the huge investment on the football team. Adding that the state is not happy with the poor performance of the team this season. Bayelsa United has been hovering around the relegation zone since the Premier League kicked and has found it tough to rekindle last seasonâ€™s performance.