Football Supporters Club in Nigeria should not be for Charlatans_Okumagba

The Super Eagles Supporters Club is a football fans group which stormed the stage a couple of years back and noticeably have been going round the various local and international stadia singing and dancing at any time the Nigeria national football teams take to the pitch. At a recent catch up, the usually elusive president of the group, Prince Vincent Okumagba found time out of his busy schedule to open up on the club, it’s objectives and plans for the game in Nigeria.

May we please meet you

My name is Prince Vincent Okumagba and I am the president of the Super Eagles supporters club. I am a Nigerian but presently I am in Canada.

How is the Super Eagles supporters club faring in Nigeria seeing that you are caught up here in Canada

Our club is well structured and like you know we have 21 members in the Exco. When I am not around the deputy president takes charge. I am however in touch daily.

There is this news flying around that the club does not have a functional administrative office

Well that’s their problem, if at this level we don’t have a functional secretariat how can we then say we have a club. We rented the former eatery at Teslim Balogun Stadium known as Zaboom. It’s a duplex and we pay 2.5m yearly as rent.

We gathered that the conditions to be fulfilled before getting admitted to the club is very stringent. Please let us know your requirements for admission

That’s very correct, we have what is known as a screening committee headed by elder Ologunye who was the vice to Dr Raufu Oladipo when he was chairman of NFSC. He screens every member and recommend to us before admitting to the club.

Requirements include but not limited to being a Nigerian, having a verifiable means of income, belonging to and supporting a local team and loving Nigeria football.

What are your immediate objectives for the club

Every time I watch teams abroad and their supporters especially teams like Real Madrid and the way their supporters adorn their white Jerseys I am usually moved. I have decided that within the next 2 years, I want to see our stadia filled with green and white anytime our national teams are playing.
We are working with Haggai Sports to produce 20,000 jerseys for our home games alone till we are able to achieve operation green at our stadia.

Just like every other organization, you must have planned your activities for the year. What were the previous plans that have now been disrupted by the covid-19 pandemic

Thank you very much. Our 2nd edition of the Super Eagles Supporters Club awards was slated for June but that seems not possible with the look of things. We had also planned to unveil our Jersey and to lay a foundation for our clubhouse. A land has been given to us at Maryland in Lagos. I want to bequeath that to the club before I retire in 3 years time

We have seen this unhealthy rivalry between the different supporters clubs, what is the major cause of this and how can we put an end to such

For those who don’t know us it’s safe to say that we at SESC are not in competition with any one. We are proud to say that we have done well in terms of supporting Nigeria football over the years and we shall continue once we overcome the present pandemic. Our club has presence in virtually all parts of Nigeria. We don’t hire crowd. We are the first club in Nigeria to institute an award night. We have a magazine quarterly known as SUPER SUPPORTERS. Our induction night is every month at our secretariat located at Teslim Balogun Stadium.

We are very mature in all we do, you wont find anyone in my group trying to put anyone down but others do it with relish. Nigeria is big enough to accommodate every group and as far as I am concerned they are all welcome. Our stadium has capacity of 40 to 50,000, we need fans to come cheer the team . Let us all work together as long as our objectives are the same. We are not been paid so why the fight?

How do you generate funds for all your engagements? Is the club on sponsorship somewhere

We don’t have sponsors at the moment but we are blessed with quality members who are professionals in their fields. Some are permanent secretaries, bankers, oil moguls and businessmen generally. We usually pull resources together to run the club. I also contribute a very large sum to ensure we carry out any assignment that is of importance to the club and nation. Aside this however we have some sport lovers in the society that supports us from time to time. People like Nwoko Ned , Rev mother Esther Ajayi and so many others including members of the Senate.

The name of your club is Super Eagles supporters club, does that mean that you are not interested in the Golden Eaglets, Flying Eagles, CHAN Eagles and others including the women national teams.

Yes the name is Super Eagles supporters club but that doesn’t mean we don’t support the other teams including local club sides. We supported Enyimba FC on the continent. We were the only club in France for the FIFA women U-20 World Cup and the Super Falcons at the senior world cup proper. The Eagle actually symbolizes and represent the Nigeria national teams.

Would you subscribe to the merging of the entire supporters club in Nigeria into one indivisible family

If there is sincerity of purpose and we are ready for the truth I will not hesitate to support. They must go back and trace the reason why the club was fragmented in the first place. Raufu Ladipo didn’t form the club but he has refused to quit the stage. Now we have other people who were my junior officers running their own clubs registered and not registered . If we have to come back together we must look at the problems from the root stem.

Is the supporters club a money making venture? How profitable is owning and running such a club

The supporters club can best be described as a charity organization. We fund our own travel, hotel accommodation, feeding and spend our time plus energy supporting Nigeria. It is a selfless venture and it is indeed fund consuming.

That is why members of the supporters club are supposed to have verifiable means of livelihood. You can’t find anyone who is not gainfully employed in our group. We also care so much about our image you will never see members of our supporters club going about begging players for money. I pride myself in the fact that all my years of following and supporting the Super Eagles both locally and internationally I have never for once begged or solicit for funds from any player or administrator for that matter. I have never gotten a dime from any player or NFF up till now. Our role is to compliment NFF to ensure they deliver positively for Nigeria. We are aware of those running after players of the Super Eagles claiming to be supporters and pestering them for $100. We are not in that category and we will never be.

Do you mind telling us what you do for a living then

Ever before I joined the supporters club I have been a marketer of petroleum products. I currently own 100% stakes in 3 petrol stations in Nigeria, fuel tankers and at a time l also owed an oil vessel but its not in operation at the moment.

Up till 2018 I was the vice chairman of independent petroleum marketers association of Nigeria Lagos satellite depot Ejigbo.

I am the owner of pixel petroleum company Ltd. We have a monthly allocation of petroleum products from NNPC. We currently load our products in two major depots at NNPC Mosimi Ogun state and NNPC Ejigbo on monthly basis.

Sometimes it breaks my heart when people look down on us because of our patriotic desire to become supporters of the game.

The NFF should ensure they look into this matter as this paints the genuine supporters in bad light. Loafers and Jobless individuals should not be allowed anywhere near the national teams in the name of supporters.

Finally, are you telling us the Super Eagles Supporters Club has come to stay

Yes I make bold to say we are here for the long haul. We are committed to supporting with our finances and rely on the little we get from corporate quarters. I shoulder majority of the expenses because of my love for the game and what the supporters club stands for.
We don’t need players endorsement for validation. The players see us as a part of the whole and they appreciate us. Super Eagles supporters club is authentic, we are registered with CAC and duly recognized by The Nigeria football federation. We are blessed with presence in 22 states of Nigeria, Canada, Ghana, South Africa, United states of America and elsewhere.

It’s a passion and pleasure for me to support Nigeria football.

Follow the writer on Instagram and Twitter @woleopatola

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