Churchill players happy as well as apprehensive

May 1st, 2009 - 9:25 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 1 (IANS) Churchill Brothers footballers have received hefty pay hikes for their
I-League win.

Their star Nigerian striker Odafe Onyeka Okolie has broken all records with his huge eight-figure annual package amounting $200,259 a huge jump from $146,900.

The other stars, Gourmangi Singh, Naoba Singh and Robert Lalthamba, had their emoluments more than doubled, but they are excited at the chance of playing in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup next season.

Odafe thanked club management for making him the richest player in India.

“I am thankful to Joaquim Alemao (club president) for accepting my demands. It was a great gesture by him,” Odafe told IANS Friday.

Gourmangi, India defender, is happy to have got a big hike and is now looking to play in the AFC Cup.

“We are lucky at Churchill. While other clubs are thinking of pay cuts, Churchill are doubling the fee. What more could we have asked for” said Gourmangi.

“Playing in international club tournaments and a fat pay cheque was the reason why we stayed back even though all of us had tempting offers from top clubs. In fact, I had an offer from East Bengal,” said Gourmangi.

But can a family-run club spend such huge money at a time when other clubs are trimming budgets. For instance, East Bengal have reduced their annual budget to Rs.50 million from Rs.65 million.

Some players are apprenshive of the club fulfilling the big promises they made.

One of them said when hikes were announced, there was some apprehension whether club could manage the team with such a huge budget and hoped they would not mess up the team after such wonderful season.

Churchill are on the look out for sponsors and that the players think is a good sign.

Club patron Churchill Alemao, who is the elder brother of Joaquim, said the club has tied up with Asia’s leading sports marketing agency Total Sports Asia for finding sponsors.

“Managing the club with the increased budget will be tough. We are looking for sponsors and we are hopeful of getting them,” he said.

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