By Richard Animam
Shooting Stars Sports Club Chief coach Franklin Howard believes the Ibadan team now has what it takes to compete with the big teams in the Glo Premier league when the season kicks off. Shooting Stars suffered a Federation Cup quarterfinal defeat to Enyimba, but the coach says the team has come to stay, stressing that Tuesdayâ€™s result confirms the fact that 3SC can hold its own against the big boys of Nigerian football.
â€œWe are satisfied with our input even though we eventually lost out on penalties. Itâ€™s no easy task playing a team of Enyimbaâ€™s calibre to a standstill, but we did, and we have to be proud of ourselves,â€ he reflected.
Shooting Stars, who have made a welcome return to the Nigeria Premier League, were knocked out of the Federation Cup losing 3 -2 on penalties to two_time African champions Enyimba in an exciting quarterfinal fixture decided Tuesday at the Uyo Township Stadium.
Both teams had played to a goalless draw in regulation time, and when it came down to the pulsating lottery of a penalty shoot_out, the Peopleâ€™s Elephant triumphed.
Timothy Idogbe and his strike partner Meshack Chukwubuikem converted for 3SC while Josiah Maduabuchi, Daddy Bazuaye and Joseph Onwugba were on target for Enyimba. For Shooting Stars it was a sad tale of misses as Tope Orelope, Lateef Adigun and Shakiru Lawal failed to convert their kicks.
The match was graced by the presence of several Nigeria ex_internationals like Jonathan Akpoborie, Mike Ekpenyong, Edema Fuludu, Friday Ekpo, and Ike Shorunmu.