- Some People’s Ego Responsible For Withdrawal Of Slot – Team Manager
By Solomon Odeniyi
Osun United, a football team owned by the State Government of Osun, has lost its slot in the Nigeria National League.
Investigations by OSUN DEFENDER revealed that the slot, which was sold to the football team in 2019 by Collins Edwin Sports Club, has been withdrawn by the team, following the failure of the management of the team to pay the required fees.
Osun United got relegated in 2018/2019 season, forcing it to approach the Lagos-based club to sell its slot to the Omoluabi Giants to enable it participate in the National league.
It was gathered that all paper works between the management of the two teams on the deal were concluded in November 2019.
The purchase of the Collins Edwin Sports Club slot enabled Osun United to play in the just-concluded NNL season.
However, findings by OSUN DEFENDER revealed that the management of Osun United defaulted on its part of the bargain by refusing to pay for the purchased slot.
Further findings revealed that the amount involved in the deal was in the region of N6million.
According to sources in the Osun Sports Council, the Ministry of Youths and Sports in the state had refused to honour series of letters written by the management of the Osun United for the payment of the slot.
The refusal of the Osun United FC to pay forced the management of Collins Edwin Sports Club to withdraw the slot from the Omoluabi Giants after all entreaties failed.
In a letter addressed to the NNL Chief Operating Officer, Emmanuel Adesanya, dated July 8, 2020, the General Manager of the club, Ugwu Jay Uche notified the league body of an agreement to swap places with Akwa Ibom-based club, FC ONE Rocket to replace Osun United.
A copy of the letter, which was obtained by OSUN DEFENDER yesterday reads: “The management of Collins Edwin Sports Club Limited, Lagos wishes to accept and notify your good office that due to continued budgetary constraints to adequately take care of the welfare of our players that is our policy thrust in playing in the Nigeria National League, we have decided not to play in the 2020/2021 NNL football season.
“Further to the above, we have decided to swap our NNL slot with FC ONE Rocket, Uyo NLO Div 1 slot on a respectable mutual understanding. We therefore, ask you give FC ONE Rocket, Uyo necessary assistance to register in the 2020/2021 NNL football season.”
Akwa Ibom State, by virtue of the swapping of Osun United slot for FC ONE Rocket, now has three football teams to play in the NNL next season.
There are concerns that the withdrawal of the NNL slot might stop Osun United from benefiting from the $5,000 palliative from CAF/FIFA which the NFF would disburse in no distant time.
Sources told OSUN DEFENDER that the management of the team had been trying to lobby the people in charge of the palliative to enable the money get to the state-owned club.
A top management member of the Collins Edwin Sports Club, who spoke with the medium under condition of anonymity, confirmed that the NNL slot had been withdrawn from Osun United.
He said: “I wouldn’t want to get people implicated. Whatever they told you is a big lie. I won’t like to say anything that will implicate anybody. We should allow the issue to lie. It is in the news; we have taken the slot from Osun United.”
When contacted, Team Manager of Osun United, Kabiru Adekunle, also confirmed that the Omoluabi Giants have lost its NNL slot.
Adekunle said it was wrong for the state government not to have committed a penny to the slot purchased.
He said: “You are right about your findings. Osun United got relegated before we came on board on May 8, 2019. Those in charge of the team selected bad players and most of them were selected based on politics, which led to their relegation. I told them I can’t work with the team.
“The league with which they got relegated was an abridged one; they were relegated having played 5 out of 8 games. And I remember that I told Mr. Ademola Adesina, the President of Osun United that it was better we don’t take the job because it may tarnish our reputation if care is not taken. But we were later persuaded to go on with the team and they eventually got relegated.
“We wrote our report to the Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Hon. Yemi Lawal, stating our plights. The FA Secretary, Abayomi Amoo was the one who looked for Collins Edwin and we got their slot. However, we couldn’t pay for the slot eventually, because we did not get money to pay from the ministry.
“The sport commissioner was aware and supported us but we did not get the cash backing. We wrote several letters to notify the Ministry of Youths and Sports, but there was no positive response. We later got to discover that the Collins Edwin Sports Club had taken the slot from us and sold to another club which to me was the most reasonable thing to do.
“How can you sell a slot with the benefiting party not committing a penny to it? It is not fair. When you pay part of the money, it will be difficult to take the slot back. It was wrong for Osun State Government not to have paid at all. I don’t want to believe the state government does not have money. It is beyond that. It is because of the ego of some certain people.”
Adekunle faulted claims that the FIFA palliative could be hijacked by the Lagos-based club, saying that the money belonged to Osun United, having played in the league in the season.
The Team Manager warned that it could be lost if not well pursued.
He said: “If we did not play that slot on their behalf, it could have been difficult for us to claim that money. We played with the slot and it was quite unfortunate we defaulted. They can’t claim the money. But if not pursued well, reverse may be the case.
“I have been hearing all these side talks too and it is surprising that no one has reached out to me on what could be done; not even the commissioner”.
When contacted for comments on the matter, the Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Mr. Yemi Lawal, declined comments on the issue.
He said: “I am sorry; I don’t have any information to give you people. I am not granting any press interview for now, please.”