Businessman and Owner of Nigerian National League (NNL) side Remo Stars, Kunle Soname says his side cannot honour the season-ending Super Eight tournament because they do not have the required number of pla!yers to play in the tournament.
Soname was speaking on a radio programme in Lagos on Wednesday evening where he defended the stance of other NNL sides who have stayed away from the tournament, much against the directive of Nigeria’s football governing body, NFF.
On Remo Stars position in the whole imbroglio
“To be honest with you, we are actually at a cross road, I must admit. We will like to go and play because for us, it was agreed at the beginning of the season that there will be a Super 8 so any club that says they are not going to play, that is not fair. Because at the beginning, there should be Super 8 and that should be that.
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“But the problem now is that when they (the NFF AGM) went to Asaba and they came back, they said all the eight teams were going to be promoted.
“Everybody actually started recruiting and dropped (players), like us now, we only have fourteen players. Thirteen outfield players and one goalkeeper that are remaining from our last year team, so how are we going to play? It’s a big problem. Bendel Insurance I think only have about nine, plus their deputy governor who was also registered making ten. So how are they going to play? So, it’s tough.
“For me, I think there has to be a sit down again, maybe we’ll turn it to a 5-Aside (general laughter) because it’s tough. Everybody keep saying the NNL don’t want to play Super 8 but it’s not so,” adds Soname.
On NNL’s proposal
The past few weeks have seen the second tier division (NNL) hold the top flight to ransom over the number of teams it intends to promote to the top flight. While the NPFL insists that four teams should be promoted as agreed before the season, the second division want to push up eight teams.
“Everywhere in the world, even in the most affluent of societies, they are trying to cut down the teams in their Premiership I mean, because 20-team league is becoming unfashionable. People are trying to cut to sixteen then we are going to twenty-four.
“So, what is NNL now saying?
“The NNL is now saying that we have a problem, we can solve this problem now, let us use this season to solve the problem. And we will normalise next season going forward.
“What is the normalisation? Promote these eight teams then we will accept twelve teams from you next season, then you will balance back to twenty then everybody plays on.”
Appreciation for NFF Executive and pointing finger at Shehu Dikko
In all of these, Soname acknowledges the roles played by top executives of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) in finding a solution to the impasse and while he appreciates their input, he doesn’t have kind words for the NPFL’s supremo Shehu Dikko.
“To be quite honest, the guys at the NFF have been quite wonderful. They actually love football, they love the game. They’ve intervened in the best way possible, they’ve intervened on both sides, they’ve called us to meetings, in small groups and what have you. But it’s a work in progress. The last directive left a sour taste… It’s (the directive) fine.
“Remember the NNL club are not saying they are not going to play, they are only saying there is a condition for them to play because at the end of the season. Let NFF give us a commitment, that this season, you must promote four and at the end of the season, only four must promote to your league. Then we will go and play and promote the four.
“We have no right to say they must drop four teams, we have no right to say that. It’s their league, we are only saying that at the end of this upcoming league season, you cannot drop eight teams to the NNL.
“I just want to appreciate the efforts of the President of the Federation Amaju Pinnick and the Vice President. They have been truly outstanding. I’m talking about Seyi Akinwunmi (as the Vice President), who is the other one? Shehu Dikko… Nooo, Nooo, Shehu is the architect of this problem, I’m sorry to say,” concluded Soname who did not expatiate on Dikko’s role as the Architect.