By Dayo Johnson, Akure
Aggrieved players and officials of the Ondo state owned Football Club, the Sunshine Stars have protested against the alleged plan of the state government to sell the club.
They staged a protest to the Governor’s office in Akure, the Ondo state capital, lamenting that the governor Rotimi Akeredolu-administration had neglected their welfare.
The protest disrupted vehicular movement along the major Oba Adesida road in the metropolis. Displaying placards of various inscription, the appealed to the state government to pay them their seven months salaries and the ten unpaid salaries of the officials.
The placards read “Mr Governor help us”; “Our team is dying”; “Don’t sell our team”; “Save Sunshine Stars;” “Pay us our salary” among others.
Sunshine Stars is currently battling with relegation in number 17 of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
Speaking with newsmen, the captain of the club, Sunday Abe said “the players had been finding it difficult to cater to their financial demands due to the backlog of salaries owed.
Abe urged the state government to consider the players in it decisions. The Captain added that the situation has been affecting the performance of the club which is battling with relegation.
“We’ve been suffering for a long while. Sunshine Stars is suffering likewise Ondo State. We don’t expect you to watch those who are not interested in the development of the state, scheming to sell the club.
“As players of the club, we’re being owed seven months salary while that of officials is more than 10 months. Also, we’ve not being paid more than 30 match bonuses.
“Most of us in the club, we’ve made our names as players. So, we’ve nothing to lose if the club is sold but we’re concerned about those whose make their daily living in the club. We’ve really sacrificed a lot for sunshine.
“We’re forced to take this action because we’ve been pushed to the wall and our job has no pension. Two of our players are critically injured now with no money to treat themselves.”
“We heard that the Governor has given the instruction that the club should be sold but we did not believe it because to us, it’s a rumour. It’s the same governor who recently gave us a new bus.
Addressing the protesters, the state deputy governor, Lucky Ayedatiwa debunked alleged plan to sell the team saying stakeholders would be involved before such action is taken.
Ayedatiwa, however, said that the state government is considering the option of sponsors who will assist the government towards building a formidable team for the state. He promised that the state government would work on the outstanding wages of the players.
“We’ve been observing all that has been happening as regards Sunshine Stars. There’s no progress with the club and the issue of unpaid salaries has become a huge concern.
“So, we’ve been brainstorming on how to rescue the club from going into extinction.
Ayedatiwa said “That is the stage we are at present not the rumours that it has been sold. What we are looking for are sponsors because government alone cannot do it.”