Interview Granted Today October 13, 2021 by Vandrezzer FC Actg. Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Kingsley Ogbonna on The  VFC Players Gone AWOL

The Social Media space has been agog following the publication from Vandrezzer Football Club alleging that two of her professional players, Kolawole Adeyemi Daniel and David Oguntunde Mark, have been surreptitiously poached by the Shooting Star Sport Club (3SC) of Ibadan.

We had a telephone conversation with Mr. Kingsley Ogbonna, the Acting Chief Operating Officer of Vandrezzer Football Club who arrived in London earlier today.

“I am in London to join other Top Management personnel of the club who are currently in the United Kingdom to participate in trainings, programmed visitations to top Uk clubs, as well as strategy sessions, aimed at developing the club in line with international standards and best practices.”

Asked about the publication, Mr Ogbonna said, “There has been several publications emanating from our club in recent times and we are known for our corporate governance and transparency in the way we conduct our affairs.”

He continued pointing out that, “In writing our history as a club, we have always acknowledged we bought the NNL slot from Gidado FC upon their qualification to the Nigeria National League (NNL) in 2019; noting that this was consummated at the cost of N12.5 million via confirmation letter and sales agreement dated September 06, 2019”. 

Mr Ogbonna further stated on the issue of the two players from Gidado FC, that their release is duly covered in a letter dated November 18, 2019 from Gidado Football, quoting verbatim the letter titled “Release of Player” below: 

“The management of Gidado Football club hereby releases the under-listed players on outright clearance to Vandrezzer Football club, Uyo. Akwa Ibom State. They are:

1. Kolawole Daniel

2. David Mark

By this letter, the Football authorities can formalize their registration for Vandrezzer Football club.”

The Actg. COO of Vandrezzerfc expressed shock at the recent statement made by the Gidado FC saying, “ It is rather pathetic and a poor attempt at face saving. It shows how notorious our football clubs and academies have become when it comes to players transfer both locally and internationally. For the avoidance of doubt, there are preponderances of evidence that shows that the players in question, Kolawole Adeyemi Daniel and David Oguntunde Mark, did not join Vandrezzer FC on a loan but on outright transfer.”

He continued explaining that It has been a little over two (2) years since Vandrezzerfc was incorporated as a football club and in the process of selecting her players for the first team, relationships were created with several academies. “We are a community club, and we build sustainable relationships that has seen us allocate resources to support smaller academies and other charitable programs.” he said. 

Mr Ogbonna further stated that “As expected, some of our players joined us as free agents having been duly released from their previous clubs.”

He pointed out that “Fundamental to argument and in consonance with the regulations, all our players have written contracts with our club and are paid for their footballing activity.”

He revealed that 3SC football club had approached Vandrezzerfc in a letter SSSCL/IB/PI/01 dated August 30, 2021 to acquire some of their players on loan to execute the Super8 in their promotion drive to the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL). However, the request by 3SC was declined as it was not in line with Vandrezzerfc corporate strategy.

“We are therefore surprised to see that the same players who are still under contract with Vandrezzer FC and still receiving salary from Vandrezzer FC are now donning the jerseys and training with 3SC even when their contracts are still in force with Vandrezzer FC!”, exclaimed the exasperated VFC boss.

Mr Ogbonna continued saying, “You will be surprised to note that we have recently discovered that another of our players, Anietie Uko, who is still currently in contract and earning salary from Vandrezzer FC has also been poached and currently registered with 3SC and playing the Prince Dapo Abiodun Pre-season tournament without the approval from Vandrezzer FC. This is sacrilegious and completely unheard of in professional football in other climes!”.

“For the sake of clarity, this is Association Football, and it is governed internationally by FIFA and on the domestic level by Nigeria Football Federation. It is regulated by rules and regulations that forbid conducts that damage the integrity and reputation of football both in Nigeria and elsewhere. The rules also provides for sanctions on all illegal, immoral and unethical behavior perpetuated by persons who are bound by the regulations including players, club officials and players’ intermediaries.” expressed Mr Ogbonna.

“The unethical conduct of Gidado Academy and Shooting stars football club of Ibadan (3SC) is therefore a subject covered by the rules and as such it should be decided in accordance with the Federation’s custom and rules and draw on precedents and principles already established by sports doctrine and jurisprudence; applying appropriate sanctions for acts of commission or omission, whether they have been committed deliberately or negligently; whether or not the breach constitutes an act or attempted act, and whether the parties acted as participants, accomplices or instigators.” he further stated.

“We would not want to pre-empt the regulators, however, what is conspicuously clear is FIFA’s Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (RSTP), which is unambiguous on this issue, and the applicable sanctions to be meted out on earing clubs and officials”, he pointed out.

“Condoning this kind of behavior continues to tarnish the image of Nigerian football clubs and academies in the international community”, he said, further explaining that as soon as discussions for the international transfer of a player is underway or the player is about to clinch an international professional contract, what you find is that his former club/academy would renege on any earlier agreement with the selling club, or begin to throw tantrums in a bid to abrogate  the rights of the selling club to receive the sale proceeds; failing to realize that FIFA has already provided for them under the Training Compensation and Solidarity Mechanism.” Mr Ogbonna opined that “It is important that we begin to launder our image and stop depriving our teeming youth who have exceptional skills in football the opportunity to be considered in the international market by this unethical display which I believe is borne, majorly, out of greed as well as ignorance of FIFA rules among football actors within the country.”

Concluding, Mr Ogbonna said “Indeed, when we joined the Nigeria Football League System, we knew that we would have to deal with issues that has clogged our football system; but in all honesty, we did not know the decay was this bad. This is a plague that has affected the system in Nigeria for so long and would continue until the authorities come out strong on the offender. Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has overall responsibility to safeguard the integrity and reputation of football in Nigeria.”

In his final remarks, Mr Ogbonna said, “As a football club, Vandrezzerfc has never shied away from standing for what is right and we are not about to back down. As stated earlier, we have escalated the issues to the relevant authority, and we expect the authorities to act accordingly. The reason why this absurdity has continued to thrive in Nigeria is because appropriate sanctions have not been applied and earing parties are not dealt with in line with the rules. We cannot expect to grow as a footballing nation if we continue to allow such impunity to continue”.

Media Watch: Read the latest VFC transfer rumours