Afenifere, Ondo government condemn attack on Sunshine Stars FC
• Yoruba group urges Akeredolu, Aregbesola to settle rift
The Pan Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere has condemned the transfer of aggression from politics into football by Ondo and Osun states, saying it violates the spirit of sportsmanship and unity in the game.
Speaking yesterday while addressing journalists after a meeting at the house of Afenifere’s leader, Chief Adebayo Fasoranti in Akure, the Publicity Secretary of the group, Mr. Yinka Odumakin expressed worries over the attacks and retaliatory attack between the two states, warning that it may degenerate into internecine crisis. “We see this as a brewing crisis that must be nipped in the mud. We can only know the beginning of a crisis like this; nobody can predict the end. We don’t want war between two states in Yorubaland.
“We call on the governor of these states to quickly meet and nip this crisis in the bud before it escalates beyond what we are seeing now,” Odumakin said.
The Guardian recalls that supporters of Ondo State owned football club, Sunshine Stars FC, were allegedly attacked and injured by the indigenes of Osun State after a football match that ended in defeat for the Osun United team.
The Guardian learnt that Sunshine Stars’ supporters, staff and other management members, including the media officer, Mr. Chris Okunuwa, were battered by the Osun supporters at a football match in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State on Saturday.
Meanwhile, sources who spoke with The Guardian attributed the attack to last Thursday’s molestation of a commissioner from Osun State, Mr. Bola Ilori, during the APC’s committee meeting on restructuring held in Akure.
But both the Ondo State’s Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Mr. Saka Yusuf Ogunleye and the Commissioner of Information, Mr. Yemi Olowolabi, denied the attack on the Osun State entourage. Ogunleye, who described the attack as “barbaric and uncalled for,” said, “We did not attack Bola Ilori, it was the Osun people that came with weapons and wearing Oranmiyan clothes, the same style they went to Ijebu-Ode.”
The commissioner lamented that the Osun United FC supporters came with about 35 to 40 coaster buses armed with dangerous weapons to Ijebu-Ode Stadium to attack the supporters of the Sunshine stars FC.
He disclosed that several members of the entourage sustained various degrees of injury, while displaying two of the victims, who were critically injured with bandages over their heads, Mr. Ayodele Folorunso and Mr. Olowa Felix.
“The match started peacefully until the tail end of the game when the Osun supporters invaded the pitch and started attacking our supporters and the team. “In the process, two of our supporters were badly injured. As I am talking to you now, the C.S.O of the match is still in the hospital. It is necessary to tell the whole world what these people are doing and we cannot continue like this.
“The security agencies were able to lead the players into the dressing room, but the supporters were so unlucky as most of them were badly injured.”
Ogunleye, who disclosed that some of the attackers were still remanded in Ogun State police custody, warned that the differences in political camps within the All Progressives Congress (APC) should not soil the spirit of sportsmanship in football.
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