Players and officials of the Sunshine Stars Football Club of Ondo State on Tuesday barricaded the gate of the Governor’s Office, Alagbaka, Akure, over an alleged move to sell the club.
The aggrieved players who kicked against the move said despite their commitment to the club, the state government had not reciprocated to ensure that their welfare is taken care of.
Sunshine Stars is currently battling relegation in number 17 of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) and has been having difficulties winning matches in the last few outings.
Armed with placards reading “Mr Governor help us”; “Our team is dying”; “Don’t sell our team”; “Save Sunshine Stars;” “Pay us our salary” among others, the footballers disrupted vehicular movement along the Oba Adesida road down to the Governor’s Office.
According to the captain of the club, Sunday Abe, the players are currently being owed seven months salaries while officials are also owed for 10 months.
Abe said the players had been finding it difficult to take care of their financial demands due to the backlog of salaries, urging the state government to consider the players in its decisions.
The Captain added that the situation has been affecting the performance of the club which is battling with relegation.
“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 who make their daily living in the club. We’ve really sacrificed a lot for sunshine.
“We heard that the Governor has given the instruction that the club 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.”
Reacting to the protest, the Deputy Governor of the state, Lucky Ayedatiwa debunked the alleged plans to sell the team saying stakeholders would be involved before such action is taken.
Ayedatiwa, however, disclosed that the state government is considering the option of sponsors who will assist the government in building a formidable team for the state.
He also said the government would work on the outstanding wages of the players.