Shooting Stars Sports Club of Ibadan secured promotion to the Nigeria Professional Football League for the first time since 2017 with a 6-0 thrashing of Ekiti United in the last group match of the NNL Super 8 play-off, played on Saturday in Enugu.
The Oluyole Warlords lost at this stage in 2019 after the team was beaten 3-0 by Akwa Starlets at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba.
Two goals each from Gafar Olafimihan, Najeem Olukokun, and a goal each from Chinedu Emmanuel, and Anthony Okachi secured the much needed win for the team.
Shooting Stars was Nigeria’s first club to win the FA Cup in 1971. It was also the first Nigerian club to win an African title, the 1976 African Cup Winners Cup. The Oluyole Warriors was also the first Nigerian club to win the CAF Cup donated by late Chief MKO Abiola in 1992.
For many years, Shooting Stars, which metamorphosed from the famous WNDC Ibadan, have produced players who later became national and international heroes. Some of Nigeria’s household names like Segun ‘Mathematical’ Odegbami, Muda Lawal, Best Ogedegbe, Felix Owolabi, Rashidi Yekini, Kunle Awesu, Folorunsho Gambari, Nath Adewole, Sam Ojebode, Taiwo Ogunjobi, Mutiu Adepoju, Dimeji Lawal, Sola Akinwale, Duke Udi, David Aigbovo, Ademola Bankole, Ogbein Fawole, Friday Christopher, Isiaka Awoyemi, Ken Ugorji, Ben James, Dotun Alatise and Golden Ajeboh, thrilled fans with their God-given football skills at different times. They won several laurels including continental trophies. But Ibadan fans have been denied topflight action since 2017.
3SC, which has won the league title five times and four FA Cup, was relegated to the lower league in 2006, but regained top flight status three years later. The club suffered another relegation from the elite division at the end of the 2016/2017 season and failed to gain promotion after several attempts in the past.
Last week, the Oyo State Government under Governor Seyi Makinde commissioned the remodeled Lekan Salami Stadium, home ground of Shooting stars, with cutting-edge structures and environment-friendly technologies.
The Governor kick-started the remodeling to FIFA standards in August 2020. Within a year of the inauguration of the contract, the contractor, Messrs. Peculiar Ultimate Concerns Ltd delivered the main bowl of the stadium with world-class facilities.
The main bowl of the stadium is fitted with FlFA recommended specified standard natural grass, four dressing rooms equipped with modern showers, heaters and player’s lockers, adjustable flood lights, five-mile radius CCTV, most modern electronic score board and video assistant referee (VAR).
Essentially, all the stands are now fully covered besides a VIP lounge equipped with grand style VIP seating arrangement with numbers. The stadium boosts of two new additional specialized gymnasiums for combative sports and gymnastics and 1,200 capacity tennis court.