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The Secrets Of Shooting Stars' Success

By Tosin Omojola - It is no more news that Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) of Ibadan, have made a return to the elite cadre of the Nigerian league, four years after their demotion to the second-tier league.

Besides reclaiming their spot in the topflight, the Oluyole Warriors set some fascinating records and also carted home some individual honours 

The Ibadan soccer lords achieved a feat no club has ever had, making history by playing eight matches without dropping a point, winning all eight games.

The team achieved promotion to the premier league,, playing all its matches away from its traditional home ground, the Lekan Salami Stadium,which was being remodelled as at the time the season was on.

Gafar Olafimihan scored 16 goals in the regular season and three in the play off to cart home the highest goal scorer award in addition to the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award, while Charles Tambe won the best goalkeeper of the season award.

Shooting Stars SC in this piece, reveals the secret behind the fantastic performance of the team, which culminated in its promotion to the Nigeria Professional Football League.

SOLID PREPARATIONS:

It is an undisputable fact, that no team in the NNL, prepared as 3SC before the season started. Even in the NPFL, only few teams, can stand side by side with the team in terms of preparations and preparedness for the 2020/21season.

Shooting Stars have for long, been preparing for the season, even before it eventually started. I have lost count of the number of friendly matches the team played, in addition to its participation and victory in the second edition of the Prince Dapo Abiodun Pre season Tournament, held in Ijebu-Ode.

At a point in time, the club was tagged  by some people, as friendly matches and pre season experts.

What else can be expected from a team, with adequate and serious preparations, than what it  eventually achieved?.He who fails to prepare, prepares to fail.

Most people, including coaches and football administrators, who watched 3SC play one. or two times in one competition or the other, prior to the commencement of the season, attested to the fact that the 3SC squad, was not a team for the NNL but for the elite league, based on what they saw.

SOUND TECHNICAL CREW

Check out the technical department,  then you will agree that Shooting Stars deserved nothing less than what they got in terms of results.

The team has a sound technical crew, made up largely of ex players, who know the nitty gritty of football and to cap it up, are well trained as tacticians.

Check it out, Chief coach Edith Olumide Agoye, a former national team player, a terror to defenders when he was playing. He has been in the coaching business for a while. Coach Lateef Yusuf, a good goalkeeper during his playing days and former national team goalkeeper's trainer. Kabiru Alausa, a prolific striker in his playing days. Yinka Popoola, a well trained coach. Abayomi Adigun, a no nonsense defender in his playing times and Kola Ige, a FIFA U-20 World Cup silver medallist and also a good goalie in his playing days.

Of course, mention should be made of our Team Manager, Oladimeji Muhammed Lawal (MON), a FIFA U-17 and U-20 World Cup silver medalists, who also featured for the senior national team, one of the few Nigerian players with such a rear achievement.

These are people who have seen it all when it comes to the round leather game and have been working together for years. Experience, they say, can never be purchased.


 QUALITY AND DEDICATED PLAYERS

The team has in its fold, quality players, majority of who have been together for about four years now. From the goalkeeping department through the defence, the midfield and the attack, only few clubs, probably in the elite league can boast of what 3SC parades.

The squad is a mixture of few players who have played in all tiers of  the league, players who have featured for premier league teams and young, talented players.

While counting on the  experiences of the old ones, the energy of the younger ones, was also an added advantage.

A plus to this, was  the dedication to duty of the players.

CONTINUITY

The crop of coaches in the team, have been working together for close to four years and they have also been handling almost the same set of players for those years, hence, the understanding and the cohesion in the team.

Season in season out, the squad is only strengthened, dropping few and bringing in new ones where the coaches deemed necessary.


LOVE AND UNITY AND DISCIPLINE

Having being together for years, the club, unknown to outsiders, operates more like a family. From the management to the coaches, the players and other officials as well as backroom staff, the love and unity existing in this team, on and off the pitch, is quite inexplicable. This is a team where discipline is also a principle that is not toyed with, both on and off the pitch.


FOCUSED MANAGEMENT

The club is being managed by a players and officials' friendly management. Not much is needed to be said about the club's General Manager Rasheed Balogun, a household name in football administration in Nigeria. Often mistaken by many as a difficult man, those who know 'Ekulukule' as Balogun is fondly called, always accord him his due respect,  due to his expertise when it comes to managing a team. Here is a man who knows how to bring out the best in his staff, including coaches and players. He knows the terrain and is versatile with the politics of the game.

One thing Balogun has working well for him is the capable hands in charge of the administrative department of the club, headed by Mr Rahman Olapade, a blunt, hard working fine gentleman, a professional to the core in his field. Alongside other top official, these people worked hand in hand with the GM to make things happen administratively.


PRAYER AND DETERMINATION

This team does nothing without involving God, before, during and after matches. Individually and collectively,  prayer is taken seriously.

Yes, every team prays and that is why  determination to succeed was added to prayer. Heavens, they say help those who help  themselves.The team believed in Work and Pray approach, one of the reasons success was achieved.

FULL SUPPORT OF THE ENGINEER SEYI MAKINDE LED GOVERNMENT

Ever since the current administration in Oyo State came on board, things have never remained the same for the stars. The club. benefitted immensely  from the fact that Oyo State has in office, a governor, who does not only like sports, football but has special attachment to Shooting Stars.

Here is a governor, who arrived at a match venue, almost 30 minutes before the commencement of a game, unlike when some governors will drive in, when a match was on, thus causing unnecessary distractions.

One thing is important to His Excellency, Governor Seyi Makinde and that is the restoration of the lost glory of the Oluyole Warriors and this he has never hidden, with the provision of everything needed, including money, to make the dream come to reality.

Governor Makinde in his wisdom, appointed a young vibrant Asiwaju Seun Fakorede to run the affairs of the Youth and Sports Ministry, which was also helpful to the cause of the Ibadan soccer lords.

Financially, Shooting Stars had the best of support from the government of the day as funds were made available as at when due while salaries and other entitlements were paid without any delay.


EXCELLENT WELFARE AND MOTIVATION

In terms of players and officials' welfare and motivation, Shooting Stars stand tall among other clubs in the country.

With a very supportive governor, wh gave gave the team hundred percent attention, the club also enjoyed the luxury of a good management.

Salaries were being paid as at when due, just as other bonuses are paid on time, in addition to other motivational provisions.


CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE SUPPORTERS AND FANS

Shooting Stars also enjoyed the total support of the uniformed supporters and fans both at home and in the diaspora. They all worked towards the same goal, supporting the team physically, spiritually, and these also contributed to the actualization of the promotion dream.


Tosin Omojola

Media Officer, 3SC.

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