By Taiwo Adelu
Chairman of Bolowotan Football Club of Ikorudu, Oluwatoyin Gafaar has said that it is hard to own and finance a football club in Nigeria.
Gafaar told P.M.News at the Agege Stadium where his team played a Week 06 match of the Nigerian National League, NNL, last Saturday that though football is a popular game in the country, it has been difficult for him and other club owners to make ends meet to sustain their clubs.
He said that the prevailing socio-economic situation in Nigeria have not been friendly with club owners who have to struggle to prosecute matches both home and away, pay players wages and sign on fees and other commitments for the day to day running of the club.
“I have been singlehandedly running the affairs of this club since inception in 2007. It has not been easy at all. Coping with high cost of running a club has been one of the difficult things a proprietor faces in this country. It is so sad that a popular game like football cannot boast of good financial base for the development of the sport in Nigeria.” said Gaafar.
Bolowotan boss said that despite the constraint he faced since 2007, he has not relent to ensure that the club forge ahead, adding that he is glad today that his struggle to keep the club alive has not gone in vain.
According to him, since inception, a year has not gone without the club winning a laurel. “We came second and won the most entertaining team award at international Pepsi Academy Championship in November, 2007. we were elevated to the 1st National League Division (Nationwide League) after topping the group at 2nd National Division Group B in June, 2009. We came second and third in 2009 and 2010 editions of the Lagos MTN Street Soccer respectively.
“We were 1st runners up at the Lagos FA Cup and played at Round of 32 at the national Level of the FA Cup in 2007 (the farthest any Lagos based team has gone at the national till date. We won bronze medal at the 2010 Lagos Obas Cup. We won the third place at 2011 Lagos Federation cup for 2011, came third and fourth in the 2010 and 2011 seasons of National League, losing promotion with just a point in both years.
“Two of our players have made it to the Nigerian national football teams: Nurudeen Orelesi to the U-23 Eagles and Edet Ibok to the U-20 Flying Eagles.
“Three of our players have progressed to bigger local and international teams: Olatunji Joseph to FC Albansini in Albania, Daniel Agbagu to Freestate FC in South Africa and Razak Adegbite to Rangers International of Enugu.
“By the end of this season, our target is to gain promotion to the Premier League by the grace of God,” Gafaar said.