Ex-Green Eagles player Felix Owolabi has described Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC)’s promotion to the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) as a return of “the wilderness experience to wonderland”.
Owolabi, who announced this at a press conference in Ibadan on Sunday, noted that the club had just returned to where it rightly belongs.
Popularly known as Oluyole Warriors, 3SC were relegated to the league’s lower division (NNL) in 2017 and have struggled to return to the NPFL ever since.
However, the club was promoted back to the elite division of the Nigerian league on Saturday after racking up seven points in the Nigeria National League play-offs.
To secure promotion, the club had beaten Ekiti United FC 6-0 in the Group B Conference on Saturday, after a previous 3-0 win over Bendel Insurance and a 1-1 draw with Remo Stars.
Owolabi, who was delighted with the promotion, said it was God’s will for 3SC to leave the wilderness experience, to the wonderland.
“It is an overwhelming victory. It is no coincidence that someone has scored six good goals. This shows a lot of zeal, determination and dedication from the players.
“I feel very excited. I’m glad wherever you go today, everyone is yelling Up Shooting. This is a reflection of the people’s generosity towards the club,” he said.
The ex-international praised the players for putting smiles on the faces of their teeming fans and supporters across the country as he called on the club owner, Oyo’s state government, to ensure it financed enough to continue its winning streak in the competition.
“Financing a football club is capital intensive these days, so the state government has to fund it very well to keep the club in the league,” he said.
Owolabi further pleaded with stakeholders to ensure that a greater percentage of the players who secured promotion and were committed to the club would be retained.
“Now is not the time to say that at the end of eras like these we need premier players to play in the Premier League, as we often hear.
“They have to parade players who give their best and give their all whenever they are called onto the field of play. They have to be extremely careful in their selection.
“The more new players you bring in, the more challenges the coaches face. Now that there is a team on site, they need to build on this foundation,” he said.
The ex-3SC player also implored the club’s teeming fans and supporters to work as a unit to support the club’s success.
On the Super Eagles
Owolabi noted that the team was swarming with the results and said there should be less talk about Gernot Rohr, the technical advisor.
“Whether we like it or not, the ultimate is that we have to qualify and this is the goal they have been given. So let’s see how he does to get the result,” he said.
Owolabi said the Super Eagles technical crew tried their best, especially given that a larger percentage of the players were based abroad.
He said Nigerians should be patient with them as their style of play may be different from Nigeria.
Owolabi, an ex-Nigerian international for the former Green Eagles, and a longtime 3SC player, has a PhD in Physical Education.