Daily Trust

I’m crazy about football, 80-year-old grandma declares

Strong and energetic are understatements, if meant to describe Mrs. Olubunmi Aina, 80. Her unrepentant love for Shooting s Football Club of Ibadan (3sc) earned her the sobriquet, ‘Mama Shooting’, as she’s a staunch fan of the club. She recently celebrated her 80th birthday, with what she describes as her ‘3sc family’ at Adamasingba Stadium, in Ibadan, where she hangs out with her friends, mostly young people, who she encourages and cheers on. On that day, a novelty match was organized to celebrate the super fan’s new age.

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Since she became a fan of Shooting Stars Football Club of Ibadan in 1960, she hardly missed any of its matches.  An ex-cop, she left the Nigeria Police as a traffic warden decades ago, and relocated to Ibadan with her first child. Since she arrived, Mama Shooting never supported any club, foreign or local, except the Shooting Stars. 

Chatting with Daily Trust Saturday, Mrs. Aina said: “I support [the Shooting Stars] because I love them, even though I’m from Lagos State. I have been a fan since my days in the Nigeria Police.”

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On her family background, and how she fell in love with football, among other sports, Mrs. Aina said: “Our family house is there in Oshodi Lagos. I love football naturally. I do watch football when our guys were playing in Mafoluku and Ejigbo football field in Lagos back then. I’ve loved their performances in those days, and that’s why I fell in love with them. Since then, I have been supporting them, till I got married and relocated to Ibadan in 1965 with my firstborn.”

Chief Coach of the Shooting Stars, Olumide Edith Agoye, described Mama Shooting as a mother, and great supporter of the team. “The Shooting Stars is an institution, and one of the things that make it so, is the strong support we have. We had another super fan, called Baba Eleran, who unfortunately is no more. His replacement, so to speak, is Mrs. Aina, best-known as Mama Shooting,” he said. 

The coach told Daily Trust Saturday that he joined the Shooting Stars in August 1992 as a player. “And I can tell you that since then, she has been a fantastic fan, with very good and cordial relationships with players, the coaching crew, and the management of the team. All she wants from the players is good performance,” he said.

Coach Agoye continued: “If you can give her good results, you have made her day. If you refuse to play well, or you are the cause of our defeat, expect to see other side of Mama. She is a fantastic mother, jovial and accommodating. She encourages us with prayers. She does not stop at football performances, but she asks after our families. Whenever she sees your children or your wife, she appreciates them.”

Team Manager of the Shooting Stars, and former Nigerian international star, Dimeji Lawal, described Mama Shooting as a mother of all. “Apart from being passionate our team, which I believe to be the foremost thing in her life, she sees every member of the team as her family member. She is a good mother to us all, and while she is not rich, she is always ready to support,” he told Daily Trust Saturday.

Kit Manager of the Shooting Stars, Alhaji Ganiyu Bello, who has been supporting the team for four decades now, told Daily Trust Saturday that Mama Shooting’s loyalty to the team earned her a job in 1993. 

On the recent poor outing of her favourite team, Mrs. Aina said there was no money in the purse of the state football team, which led to their lacklustre performance. “Football is money,” she told Daily Trust Saturday, matter-of-factly. “There is no money for them to perform as before.” She distinguished two former military governors who had contributed greatly to the performance of the club in the past. saying the team recorded tremendous improvement then. To her, if football administrators mean business, they should be ready to support footballers financially.