By Richard Animam
The New Year no doubt will usher in a lot of new developments in Nigerian sports and for Bayelsa State owned football club Bayelsa United, a new management awaits the 2008/2009 Globacom Premier League champions.
The team which is struggling to find its feet at the Globacom Premier League currently on break has failed to impress Bayelsa State Chief Executive Governor Tinipre Sylva.Â Governor 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.
The governor made this pronouncement at the reception of the state athletes to the National Sports Festival tagged Kada 09 and Bayelsa United players and officials for lifting the 08/09 league trophy.
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.
Governor Sylva decried the dominance of non-indegenes in the club 10 years after its existence and charged to them to encourage more Bayelsan footballers in the team.
According to him, the privatization arrangement will see government assist the new management with a yearly grant of N200m.Â Â He disclosed that a package will be given to the Kada 09 contingent and the players and officials of Bayelsa United.
Governor Sylva stated that the new development is in line with the Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiative of the present administration which is also in line with professional football management.
The governor revealed that his effort has already generated interest as some notable banks, companies and football consultants are showing interest inÂ taking over the club in view of the need to act fast as regards stabilizing the team for the 2010 CAF Champions League.