Ogun State Government says it has put in place some measures to ensure that Gateway Football Club not only regain their past glory, but return to the country’s elite division next season.
The club are currently campaigning in the Nigeria National League (NNL), which 2015/2016 season commences on 27 February. The NNL is the second tier of club football in Nigeria
One of the measures planned by Ogun State Government, according to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Hakeem Adelekan, is overhauling the recruiting and selection process of players of the club, which he said would henceforth be based purely on merit.
Adelekan said the era of godfatherism in the recruiting and selection of players is gone forever at Gateway FC, adding that the technical crew of the club would be given the free hand to select players based on merit and performance.
The Perm Sec. disclosed that Governor Ibikunle Amosun is keen on ensuring that the state’s football team return to the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) as soon as possible, adding that “at the least, we want to see Gateway play in the premier league from next season.”
According to him, the state government has a lot of plans for the club to reclaim their lost glory in Nigerian club football.
He said that the plans would soon be unveiled. “When the plans are unveiled, people would see the seriousness of the government to put the club back on its feet.
“The government would see that the welfare of players and their coaches is taken care of, while enabling environment is provided for the club to excel. I want to assure that all hands would be on deck for us to take Gateway Football Club back to the premiership in Nigerian league,” Adelekan said.
Gateway FC, popularly called Rock City Boys, founded in 1998, returned to the top level of professional football in Nigeria, the Nigerian Premier League in 2008 after being relegated in 2005 after a one-year stint. They were sent down again in 2010.
In January 2009 they started playing at the new Ilaro Stadium but are now back at their usual home ground MKO Abiola Stadium, Abeokuta after its renovation.
In the past seasons, Gateway FC could not gain promotion because of the internal crisis within the club and inability to get the right players.