Shooting Stars of Ibadan

Shooting Stars of Ibadan, 3SC has one of the largest fan base in Africa. Photo: Oyomesioro

Shooting Stars of Ibadan: was one of the most decorated club sides in Nigeria, alongside Angers and the defunct Stationery Stores T.C. of Lagos. It dominated the country during ‘70s and ‘80s. Shooting Stars became the first Nigerian team to lift the African Cup Winners Cup (now Confederation Cup) in 1976.  The club, established in the 1950’s was one of the pionners of the Nigerian Premier League in 1972, when they were called WNDC Ibadan (Western Nigeria Development Company), and was later renamed IICC (Industrial Investment and Credit Corporation) Shooting Stars of Ibadan. The nickname “Shooting Stars” was added with the suggestion of team foundation members:  Jide Johnson and Niyi Omowon the “Aare Odan Liberty” (Generalissimo of Liberty Stadium) who believed that the players were “stars” in their own rights. Shooting Stars was one of the most followed football clubs in Nigeria and they played their home matches at the Salami Stadium, named after one of its adherent supporters of the club who was deceased. “Sooting” as it is called by its supporters, played at Liberty Stadium, one of the venues for the World soccer Championship in 1999. The club won many matches against top club sides in Africa.

The indelible contributions of Muda ‘pass master’ Lawal; the dribbling skills of Segun Odegbami; the slow but deadly dexterity of Idowu Otubusen; the never-say-die attitude of skipper Sam Ojebode became topical issues among fans. Other players in the cup-winning team were Best Ogedegbe, Zion Olufemi, Joe Appiah, Sam Asante, Sam Abossey, Dauda Adepoju, Nathaniel Adewole, Folorunsho ‘Gambus’ Gambari, Segun Adelakun, Phillip Boamah, Moses Otolorin, Kunle Awesu, Adeleye Abai, Kehinde Jeyifous and Kafaru Alabi, Layide Alii, Sam Adewole, Rasaki Amasa and Harrison Okwegbe. The achievements of the team in the ’70s is heavily tied to the managerial skills of Lekan Salami who guided the team from a Regional bully to be such a powerhouse that nobody really wanted to play in and out of Nigeria. Just like their heroics were topical discourse among their fans, the death of nine of the cup-winning team also became a prominent issue among fans with the death of Moses Otolorin in 2014 of cancer long after he left the limelight. Others who died unsung were Dauda Adepoju, (father to Super Eagles star, Dauda Adepoju, Sam Ojebode, Muda Lawal,  Best Ogedegbe, Garfa Alabi, Kunle Awesu, Joe Appiah, Folorunsho Gambari. However, a few names persisted into the new century, Odegbami was an important member of the victorious team and his dexterity, which earned him the name ‘Mathematical’, remained a little longer a talking point in football circles in the country.

While many former players of the Shooting Stars would become well-known international stars,  including a African Footballer of the Year; Rashidi Yekini, “the mathematical” Segun Odegbami, the team itself declined. They ended their 2004/05 season in fifth place in the Premier League. After the introduction of double-league format by the Nigerian Football Association, Shooting Stars got relegated to the lower division in 2006, but won promotion in 2009 after finishing second in the Division IB. The Club left Lekan Salami Stadium in Ibadan and settled at the Adamasingba Stadium. The team later joined the Nigeria National League (NNL) failing to gain promotion at the end of the following season[i].

[i] NATION, December 27, 2014

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer