Festus Abu and Peter Dada
A number of Sunshine Stars supporters are allegedly preparing for battle with the Ondo State Government over the financial crisis which has affected the Premier League club’s preparations ahead of the upcoming season.
The state government-owned Akure club are neither active in the transfer market nor involved in any serious preseason action.
Sunshine are reportedly owing many of their players salaries and match allowances for some months.
One of our correspondents learnt that some of the coaches and backroom staff have also not been paid.
It was learnt that there have been silent protests in the club with the players and the management of the club allegedly at dagger’s drawn.
Sources close to the team, who managed to retain their Premier League status at the end of last season, said all efforts being made by the new chairman of the Ondo State Football Agency Tajudeen Akinyemi to persuade the state government to release money to the club have yielded no dividends so far.
However, the officials of the ODSFA and supporters of the club, who spoke to our correspondents, blamed Governor Rotimi Akeredolu for Sunshine’s economic predicament.
Sources close to ODSFA claimed that the allocation for the club was being delayed because Akeredolu had not attended to the paperwork submitted to his office.
“There is nothing the management of Sunshine can do about this matter because the governor has failed to release money,” an official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told one of our correspondents on Tuesday.
“It is true that the club is having poor preparations ahead the next league season, many good players have left and we are not buying new ones.
“The remaining players are owed salaries by the club but the management are helpless as there is no money to pay them. Our chairman has written to the governor about the situation of the club but nothing has come out of it.”
One of the supporters, who identified himself simply as Raymond, said, “We have not signed new players, and some of our good players have abandoned us for other clubs. Judging from what we have now, relegation is sure for Sunshine next season.”
It was learnt that some of the fans of the club are planning to march through the streets of Akure in protest against the state government’s failure to give the club money to pay their players and recruit new ones.
The Public Relations Officer of Sunshine supporters’ club Olakunle Komolafe lamented the situation of the team.
He said, “Honestly we are not happy with what is going on at Sunshine and we have held different meetings on the matter. We met with the chairman and he promised us that everything would be fine.
“We are not preparing very well, we have not participated in any preseason competition because there is no money. We have not played many friendly matches, so what kind of preparation are we having? We believe it is the government that is not funding the team. We have to appeal to the government to release funds for them.”
Spokesman for Sunshine Chris Okunnuwa said the management had made adequate preparations for the team to have a good outing in the coming season .
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