Executive Comment

Let’s Get More Done During Lockdown Period

COVID-19 has no doubt disrupted football in South Africa, both amateur and professional. It has exposed a lot of leadership and creativity vacuums, again, both at the amateur and professional levels. The imagination of the footballer and the fan alike was not captivated during this period.
At the same time, COVID-19 itself is no laughing matter. We will be forgiven for lack of imagination during this period to a certain extent because of the deadly nature of the virus. This risk is just too much that no one wants to start a process or run an alternative function that will result in deaths.
Tertiary institutions have led a way with the creativity, albeit at the accusation of leaving other students who are not well off behind. That being the case, we hear that the Tshwane University of Technology has in the meantime lost no less than 30 staff members countrywide to COVID-19. No one can accuse those who have perished of being careless, and yet we have lost them. A process or function was started to make good of the progress in the curriculum, but then people died in the process.
We have seen the overseas leagues have started in earnest. We see how careful they are and we sincerely hope that there will be no lives lost in the process. Because then we will ask, was it really worth it?
South Africa is also on the verge of starting at the professional level. We expect that there will be a high level of safety precautions and compliance, all in the name of entertainment to the fans, whilst keeping sponsorships and sustaining jobs. We support the initiative but we really wish that there are no deaths along the way because then we will ask, was it worth it?
This question of ‘was it worth it’ is a question that many leaders at the grassroots level dread. We are afraid of even being carefully imaginative such that we can keep the excitement going virtually because in that process, should a life be lost, we will also ask ourselves, was it worth it? Worse, I am I responsible for the loss of life?
Be that the case, we still stand accused. It is one thing to be afraid, but it is another to be still. It is times like these that people look up to their leadership for something exciting. I say we have failed in this. We have failed in so many levels.
Let me explain more directly.
In March 2019 we wrote an article entitled “COMPLIANCE – A SILENT CHALLENGE FOR 2019 AT PLFA.” Found on this link http://plfa.org.za/2019/03/23/compliance-a-silent-challenge-for-2019-at-plfa/. In this article we were elevating the facts about the rampant non-compliance especially with submission of forms and payment of debts. We know that most of the non-compliance is fuelled by the pressures being experienced by Members and Officials alike. Most pressures have to do with football itself playing on the field, being fixtures, winning, loosing, etc. Before you know it, the season is finished and people take the long awaited break. Before they know it, it is the beginning of the season again, and the compliance issues are high on the agenda, perpetuating the pressures at a whole new level.
In 2020, compliance was a killer. It was like a sharp knife cutting across non-compliance of Members and seeing over 10 Members being expelled from the association. This was by far the most unpleasant example shown to Members in 20 years that non-compliance will not be tolerated.
By the time COVID news started making the rounds in 2020, we at PLFA were still pre-occupied about compliance, suspensions, expulsions, etc. As the first Lockdown was announced to start on the 26th of March 2020, our Membership had reduced tremendously. However, of those who were still our Members, over 50% were failing to comply fully by that time.
As it is, the association has less than R1.000.00 in its bank account, and keeps on reducing by no less R290.00 monthly. Yet the association is being owed R106,000.00 by its Members. From March up to now (July) we have not been able to collect debts from our Members. This was an opportune time to really engage our Members on non-football matters, whilst keeping their imaginations captivated on being in football afterall.
During this period, we have an opportunity to do the following:
1. Collect debts from our Members;
2. Ensure the completion of Administrative Compliance for all our Members;
3. Start having conversations about the ‘After the Lockdown’ with our Members;
4. Apply for funding for the Festive Period and the new season;
5. Introduce a new normal – Virtual Meetings;
6. Participate in the Resuscitation of Atteridgeville Saulsville Sports and Recreation Council (ASSREC);
7. Refocus the City of Tshwane about an Office at the Lucas Moripe Stadium;
8. Work with legends like Aubrey Lekwane in establishing his foundation and legacy; and
9. Addressing splinter groups that want to establish a rival Associations within the PLFA Jurisdiction.
There is more.
So we do not know how much time we have left, but the time to start is now. The challenge that we have elevated in March 2019 is still with us. But now there is an opportunity to address it in a focused manner. What we have failed to do between April and July 2020, we can still do and achieve between August and September 2020. All is not lost. I say that without pushing back on the criticism that we indeed failed to seize the moment as football leadership at grassroots level.
Members of PLFA will be getting more than ordinary correspondence from the association. Members will also notice that more and more there will be in introduction of the “New Normal”. It is going to be challenging, but let resistance NOT be the first reaction to new things. Let us support our own survival, our own growth, and our own maturity. Let us keep each other engaged. Remember, there is no association without compliant Members.
Have a blessed day further.