Sunshine stars: Elegbeleye backs Ondo government’s sell off idea

Former director general, National Sports Commission (NSC) Hon. Gbenga Elegbeleye has thrown his weight behind Ondo state government led by governor Rotimi Akeredolu to sell off Sunshine Stars Football Club of Akure to a genuine investor.

Few days ago, the Ondo state government muted the idea of selling Sunshine Stars FC to ‘a genuine investor’ “The state can decide to sell the club, if we get the right price and most importantly if the right company that has the right experience comes on board,”

“What is important for us is to develop these sports and developing these sports doesn’t have to be done by the state or by the government.”

“We are looking at investors who will come on board and run this club professionally” The state Commissioner for Sports and Youth Development, Bamidele Ologun told reporters recently.

Reacting to the development, Elegbeleye who is now the chairman of the Interim Management Committee(IMC) to manage the Nigeria Professional Football League(NPFL) was unequivocal in his submission that government has no business running football club in the country.

“Government has no business running football in the country. That’s part of the reasons that our football is not growing. Because it is government that owned 80% of the clubs in the country it’s difficult to enforce professionalism.

“Most of the clubs administrators are doing whatever they like, fleecing the state resources as they like. No accountability as such,” he said.

The astute administrator opines that investors will come if the enabling environment is provided by the government and cited the days of yore how A.G. Leventis was running the defunct Leventis FC of Ibadan who was one of the best private owned club in the country.

Sunshine Stars FC was set up by a former military administrator of the state, retired Col. Ahmed Usman, in 1995.

In 2011, the club represented Nigeria in the CAF Confederation Cup and was able to reach semi-final.

In 2012, the Owena giants also made it to the semi-final of the CAF Champions League.

But subsequent governments have struggled to meet their obligation over the years which has resulted in the players embarking on strike and poor runs on the domestic scene with the club becoming a perennial relegation battlers.

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