Cyprus & World News

CYPRUS: Omonia owner steps in to put team back on track

09 November, 2018

Despite starting the season with high hopes, eight games in Omonia FC, the island’s most successful team after Nicosia rivals APOEL, are off to one of the worst starts in their 70-year history.

Having collected just 9 out of the 24 points available, the Greens find themselves 13 points from the top and just five from the relegation zone.

With a company set up by New-York based Cypriot investor Stavros Papastavrou taking over the football club, fans of the island’s popular team felt that it would finally be brought back on the right track, reviving the glory days.

Omonia Football Ltd has taken on the football club and a huge part of its debt, which according to the previous president Antonis Tzionis amounted to EUR 16.8 mln at the end of last season while promising to invest EUR 4-6 mln each season in improving the team.

Summer signings such as Italian international Marco Motta who played for the likes of Roma and Juventus, Mexico international Jorje Enriquez and Uruguayan Juan Albin, capped for Uruguay at youth level, had raised hopes further.

However, recent failures with Omonia losing at home to sides who will theoretically struggle to stay up has only compounded discontent arising from past failures.

Papastavrou acting as the club’s board president appears to have taken matters into his own hands. The club’s president has personally intervened to sack head coach Carlos Olive and handled the hiring of his replacement.

Omonia press officer Andreas Demetriou confirmed that Papastavrou took the final decision to hire Yiannis Anastasiou as head-coach, after having reviewed recommendations and personally interviewing the candidates.

As understood by the Financial Mirror, the club is to see further structural changes, with Omonia announcing on Thursday the hiring of Nicos Charalambides as General Manager of Strategic Planning.

Charalambides is to take on the responsibility and supervision of the football section.

“With his experience and knowledge, as well as the establishment of procedures and mechanisms, he will try to ensure: the smooth operation and development of the football team, as well as the conditions that will allow the achievement of the club’s medium and long-term goals,” said Demetriou.

“Charalambides has many years of experience managing large sports organizations and is believed to be able to respond successfully to the difficult task he has undertaken,” he added.

Omonia is to see more structural changes over the coming weeks, as the club is searching for professionals to handle the team’s fitness, which Green’s technical director Angel Gomez has admitted is “not up to standard”.

Demetriou said that the company aims “to create something solid and strong, a professional football team that works professionally, with organisation and discipline, which will be in a position to honour the club’s history of success”.

“We are aware that this process takes time. Obviously, our position in the league reveals mistakes and weaknesses. Through self-criticism, we have come to conclusions. Based on these findings, we plan to strengthen various areas, as well as creating mechanisms and procedures to ensure the smooth functioning of the whole club,” said Demetriou.