The players take to the field on empty stomachs and burdened minds with several unsettled bills waiting after each game.

Ikorodu United have become the whipping boys of local football in Nigeria.

The club was demoted after finishing rock bottom on the NPFL log with a measly seven wins, 11 draws and 18 losses with just 32 points during the 2015/16 season.

Perhaps they were not Premier League worthy and had just been sent to a familiar terrain, so everyone thought.

But how do you explain the Oga Boys currently sitting second from the drop zone in the Southern Conference of NNL that has 18 teams.

The team occupies 16th position with a paltry three wins, three draws and 10 losses with 12 points from 15 matches.

Even smaller teams have been taking turns on them.

For a team that just played in the Premier League to now be battling relegation from the NNL, there must be more to it than quality of football.

Players say the dwindling fortunes of the club in their campaign in the Nigeria National League (NNL) was the result of the high indebtedness of the club to its officials and players.

“The management has to be blamed, they are not paying and expect us to play with empty stomach. Aside that, we also have families who depend on us.

“It is a tough time for the club as some of the sponsors have also withdrawn their sponsorships. It is highly discouraging.

“The club need to do something fast so as not to lead the club to its extinction,” a player said.

Another player said anonymously that he was being owed six months’ salary arrears and that had affected his morale.

“Currently, I am not happy at all, I am indebted to many people whom I have promised to pay after our salaries are paid.

“Till now, we have not been paid for six months, I am just managing myself.’’

However, commenting on the players grouse, the Media Officer of the Club, Tunde Babalola, said that the management is working to improve their lot.