Heartland FC have relieved three coaches and six administrative staff of their duties in order to cut the expenses of the Naze Millionaires in 2013 and beyond.
The coaches affected are mainly those handling the Heartland feeders team. They include former Nigeria internationals Sylvester Oparanozie, Emmanuel Osigwe and Willifried Udube.
The Imo commissioner for youth and sports Comrade Kenneth Emelu who made the disclosure at a meeting with the management team of the Owerri based club said the government came out with this decision so as to reduce the staff strength in the club as a means of cutting down expenditure level and meeting realistic planning targets.
According to the commissioner, Heartland FC spends about eight million naira on monthly salary which also, is the amount the club receives as monthly subvention making it difficult for the club to meet its financial needs.
Emelu said nine members of staff had been relieved of their duties in the club and asked those affected to meet him later for proper discussion and harmonization on their disengagement. Those affected include three coaches and six administrative staff.
Earlier, Imo State governor Owelle Rochas Okorocha had promised adequate funding for Heartland FC of Owerri this season, different from what had been their situation in the recent past.
The governor’s message which was relayed through commissioner Emelu during a meeting with the management of the club at the Dan Anyiam Stadium in Owerri on Monday, also requested the management team to quickly forward the budget for the team’s Caf Confederation Cup campaign for government approval.
The request was a clear manifestation of the government’s happiness over the team’s current performance where Heartland emerged Federation Cup champions, Charity Cup champions and Pre-season Super-4 Clubs champions all within a period of five months. Heartland FC also won the Federation Cup and Charity Cup in 2011 under the same management team.
The commissioner was full of praise for the Chief Fan Ndubuoke-led management team for its resourcefulness and unity of purpose saying that the group had made Imo State proud within a short period of time in office.
He thanked God that he did not succumb to the intense pressure mounted on him by some jobless individuals to remove the management team when he first came into office saying it had been proved that that advice would have been counterproductive had he heeded to it.
Emelu said that the state government under Owelle Rochas Okorocha has now resolved to ensure that the ‘sufferings in the club is a thing of the past.’
In his response, The General Manager of Heartland FC, Chief Ndubuoke thanked the government for the confidence reposed in the management team and assured on the group’s resolve to do better than it had done.
Ndubuoke said if well funded, Heartland FC under his management team are capable of reaching the desired target including the winning of the Premier League Trophy and the CAF Confederations Cup this season as well as transforming the club into a professional and global brand in the nearest future.
He however stunned all by promptly handing over to the commissioner, the team’s budget for the CAF Confederations Cup as well as the ones for the Premier League and the Federation Cup competitions which he said, the management team had since prepared but was waiting for an opportunity to present to the government.Thereafter, the commissioner inspected the club’s camp at Naze, near Owerri where he again heaped praises on the management team for a job well done