Yobe Desert Stars on Wednesday gained promotion to the top flight of the Nigeria Professional Football League after 15 years of absence.
Goals from Mike Zaruma and Bajibiri Muhammed gave them full marks against Adamawa United.
The goalscorers as well as head coach Mustapha Audu might have taken all the glory, and rightfully so but at the back is a monstrous figure who ensured that the Stars’ light never dimmed at any point.
Born in the ancient city of Kaduna, Kabiru Sarki Adewale was a dependable figure in the centre back position for the Stars. His presence provided the needed guard for goalkeeper Olatunji Odekunle and helped to repel several of their enemies.
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Adewale was nicknamed “Three Crown” by his teammates after his club’s victory on Wednesday. This is because the former El-Kanemi Warriors star has now helped three teams to gain promotion from lower division to the elite cadre.
Adewale was part of the El-Kanemi side which promoted to the top flight in 2012 and also played a key role in Gombe United’s promotion to the NPFL last season. He however left the Desert Scorpions for the Desert Stars.
“What motivated me to join Yobe Desert Stars is based on life’s challenge and trying to do what most people think is impossible,” Adewale told www.aclsports.com.
“The nature of the club and the environment gives me the courage and strength to join the team with the passion which the state governor himself and Yobe people have for the club.”
In spite of the seeming security challenges in North Eastern Nigeria, Adewale has found a haven in the region with all three clubs he aided based in that part of the country.
“I started my career in the North, and all the clubs I played for were in the North so the nature of the environment really helps a lot in adapting to their system,” he added.
Yobe Desert Stars were relegated from the Nigeria Premier League at the end of the 2002 season but fifteen years later, Adewale and his mates have masterminded a return to global limelight for the war-torn state.
“It’s absolutely a dream come true! I am happy to be part of this great history though I have always believed in hardwork and prayers,” an excited Adewale said.
There is a staggering stat confronting newly promoted sides to the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL). At least one newly promoted side had dropped at the end of each of the last five seasons and more remarkably, three of such relegated at the end of the just concluded season.
Remo Stars, ABS FC and Gombe United (a team Adewale was part of) were all promoted to the top flight last season but could not meet up with the standards and demands of the elite league, all three occupying the bottom three places on the log.
Adewale believes his side must learn from the aforementioned sides.
“Yobe Desert Stars will vividly look at the mistakes of the relegated teams and capitalise on how to make corrections from their mistakes.
“I believe that with the calibre of experienced old hands in the team, we won’t make such mistakes and will take teams by surprise,” he assured.
For teams, players or stakeholders harbouring the phobia of traveling to the North Eastern region, Adewale gave a true situation of Damaturu, the capital of Yobe State, North Eastern Nigeria.
“Damaturu is safe and cool o!” he exclaimed.
“Though it’s a very small town that is just developing but by God’s grace with this promotion a lot of things will change,” he enthused.
Yobe Desert Stars and Kwara United promoted from the NNL Northern Conference with two more teams to join in the Southern Conference before October 18.