James Sowole in Akure
Former players of four teams being funded by the Ondo State Government wednesday disrupted training session of state’s Nigeria Professional Football League side Sunshine Stars of Akure over non payment of their sign on fees and salary arrears.
The aggrieved players of Sunshine Stars, Sunshine Queens, Rising Stars and Rising Queens stormed the training pitch located within the Ondo State Sports Complex with placards of various inscriptions condemning the government and management of the teams for shirking in their responsibilities to their employees.
Some of the inscriptions read:, “No more stories, give us our money, We are tired of your lies and Enough is Enough, Give Us Our Money among others”.
The former players subsequently chased the players that were training out of the playing turf of the vowing to disrupt other future engagements of the Sunshine Stars Football Club.
A former Sunshine Queens player, Esther Michael told newsmen that she got injured while playing for Sunshine Queens, but was abandoned to her fate.
Michael added that she had been jobless after sustaining injuries five years lamenting that there was no help from the management of the Ondo State Football Agency (ODSFA).
“Almost five years, that i had been injured and spent all my last kobo to treat my injury that cut shot my career i had remained jobless while some of our colleagues have died because they have no money to treat procure medication.
“I played almost five years for this team, the injury, I had, government and management didn’t help me, they should pay us our money,’’she said.
Also, Former Sunshine Stars Midfielder James Moses said government should be committed to the agreement it signed with the players; and pay them their sign on fees.
Moses, popularly called “Okomu’’ in his playing days, said the love the former players had for the team would not allow them to take legal action against the team.
He said the team gave him first premier league experience and was proud to be among the first set of players that played in the continental competition for the team.
Moses called for the intervention of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu to intervene in the matter so that the ex-players would be happy.
“The state has been owing us our sign on fees, we have been begging for them to pay us, Sunshine was my first club, I love Sunshine so much, I want them to pay us our money that is due to us.
“I have worked for the glory of this state, there are clubs that had not played on the continent, and we are the ones that did that, we are begging for our money, we don’t want to hamper the progress of the team.
“We depend on this money, we have not taken any legal action, we love this club, we love the state, the state governor should help us, some of us have families to cater for, they should help us,’’he said.
In his Chairman Ondo State Football Agency, Tajudeen Oluyemi said the previous government had agreed to pay the money in 15 instalments and was only able to pay eight.
Akinyemi said the file for the remaining seven months had been taken to the Head of Service who had raised the issue with the governor of the state.
He promised that government would accelerate action on the file to ensure that the former players were paid.