Financial crisis hits Yobe Desert Stars ahead of league

Posted on Jan 9 2018 - 7:20pm by admin

Idris Adesina

Newly-promoted Nigeria Premier League side Yobe Desert Stars  have allegedly been hit by  financial crisis resulting in the team’s failure  to participate in the National League Super 4 in Lagos.

The Yobe State Government-owned  club were second in the Northern Conference of the NNL last season, which earned them promotion to the Nigerian topflight along with Kwara United.

Immediately after their promotion, Stars signed former Kano Pillars coach Mohammed Babaganaru, who was taxed  with ensuring that  they  remain in the topflight.

The coach recruited 21 new players including former Enugu Rangers goalkeeper Itodo Akor and retained some  of the players who  helped  the team gain  promotion.

However, a source close to the club told our correspondent that the Damaturu side have  been struggling to get adequate  funds to prepare for the Premier League,  which kicks off on Sunday.

Our correspondent learnt that the club were forced to shun the Super 4 because they could not raise money for the trip to Lagos. Remo Stars took their place.

“Yobe Desert Stars are facing financial challenges which may affect their season except something urgent happens,” the source said.

“They didn’t play many  preseason matches because of their  financial challenges. Apart from the Ahlan Cup they played in Kano, they have only been training in Damaturu. The Super 4 would have helped them to  assess their new team but they couldn’t make it to Lagos because of funds.”

But the spokesman for the club Jibo Zakari told our correspondent that the  team are  not in   financial crisis.

He said they shelved the Lagos tournament because they did not plan for it.

Zakari  said, “Yobe Desert Stars are focused on the task ahead in the new season. We are occupied with ensuring that the club remain  in the league, not return to the NNL after a season in the topflight.

“The Super 4 was not planned for because our first match in the Premier League this season is away against IfeanyiUbah in Nnewi. We have our eyes focused on that and we are also planning for our second game, which will be played in Damaturu.

“These matches have been budgeted for and the club is prepared for them. The distance between Damaturu and Lagos will affect our budget if we were to attend the Super 4 and return to prepare for the Nnewi match.

“To ensure that we succeed, Governor  Ibrahim Geidam donated a new bus to the club and other kits we will need for the season. Although the club’s budget for the season has not been approved, we are sure that we will complete the season without any challenge as promised by the governor.”

Zakari  added, “We didn’t sack our old players because of the new 21 players we recruited.  The governor instructed that we leave them in the feeder team and allow them leave when they get new clubs.”

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