We Are Attending to the Problems

Phelindaba Local Football Association has problems.

Some really serious problems that affect the smooth running of especially football core operations, that is, Leagues of the association. The problems are not necessarily just from within the Leagues and Competitions as a function, but supporting functions as well, such as Refereeing, Financial Management and Disciplinary processes. These problems are crippling the association and need attention, now.

In many instances, it is true that prior to tackling operational issues, one needs to first tackle the leadership issues, because in many cases, that is where the problem starts. The leadership of the association lies with the Congress and the Executive Committee. So let us look at the effectiveness of these in managing the above processes, and see if really that is where the problem is.

The Constitution of the association says the Congress is the highest decision making body of the association. It is my considered view that the Congress at PLFA is doing its job. It has passed some of the most progressive resolution in the past three years. It keeps its Constitution, Rules and Policy documents as current and up to date as possible. It elects the members of the Executive Committee, and approves the appointment of the members of the DC. All these things are intact. In fact, I can even say that the PLFA’s Congress is the most procedural, progressive and advanced Congress within the SAFA Tshwane region. It truly ensures that football is governed by the people.

Now, in my opening statement I said Phelindaba Local Football Association has problems. Could the Congress contribute to such problems? The answer is ‘no’. The Congress in fact provides a concrete path for the association to walk through, and it does that sufficiently.

In many words our Constitution says that the Executive Committee is the highest decision making body between Congresses. The Executive Committee of the association is relatively young. It was elected in April 2018. Its powers are well documented in the Constitution. However its purpose can be summarised to be to do three primary things, that is:

  • Unpacking of the Congress Resolutions and create the relevant work packages for implementation;
  • Overseeing the implementation of the Congress Resolutions; and
  • Running the association in-between the Congresses.

Question is, as the Executive Committee, are we able to unpack the Congress Resolutions?

The answer to the above question is a resounding ‘Yes’. We are capable of unpacking the Congress resolutions, we are also capable of putting together work packages for implementation. However, we fail at the important stage. We fail to implement. Therefore it is obvious, we are struggling in having the resolutions implemented as expected by the Congress. This by itself is a major problem.

Can we purely run the operations association in-between the Congresses?

We have done this over the past. We have managed to run the association in between Congresses. But our running of the association has too many times shown to be at odds with the direction as set out by the Congresses.

Let us make examples to solidify these claims.

The Congress of 2016 said we needed to do a couple of things. Chief amongst those was to implement a process where Match Officials are paid from the bank account of the association once a month. Well the resolution itself gave us a leeway for 2016, but required that we put this resolution into place from 2017 onwards. The Executive Committee failed to implement this resolution in 2017. In 2018, the Directive from the Executive Committee to implement came out, but operationally there were issues of implementing, not because Match Officials were making it difficult to implement, but because those within the Executive Committee entrusted with implementing this directive were by themselves not in favour thereof, and therefore did not use all of their might to enforce it. To date, although the directive is now in full operational mode, it is rendered ineffective by the same tendencies where the Match Officials are not paid in time, and therefore Match Officials genuinely believing that the Directive is by itself flawed.

To support the implementation of this Directive and in the interest of smooth operations, we have created a core football operation workflow which we believe is simple to follow. See here-below:

The above workflow is supported by the Constitution, Rules & Regulations, Administration & Communications Policy, and the Treasury Policy. We have people in the Executive Committee to make this work, we have the technology to make it work, and yet we fail dismally. As we fail, football in our society also fails. As it fails, the people to whom football is supposed to be of developmental benefit are beginning to lose hope.  

There is a saying that says, ‘a good start is half the work done’. The converse is also true, that a bad start is twice (or sometimes even more) the work load added.

There is another saying that says ‘ignorance is bliss’. Indeed this becomes the way of doing things with particular ignorance of the Resolutions, even at the Executive Committee level.

So, going back to the principle of reviewing the leadership first leaves us with the knowledge that the Executive Committee is deeply implicated in the creation and sustenance of the problems that we have at PLFA. So we need to dive deeper into the real causes, solve them, stabilise the leadership, tackle the actual operational problems, and monitor the operations of the association as they improve. Remember, you cannot resolve a problem with the mentality that caused it in the first place. The mentality has to either change, or move out.

In doing this, as the Chairperson of the Association, am making use of the Performance Management Framework to review the performance of the Executive Committee Members. For May 2019, I have documented the performance review of two Executive Committee Members. As a leader, I cannot keep on saying that members of the committee are NOT pulling up their socks, and still not do anything about it. I have to act. My failure to act pins all the failures of the association to me. Then I would be the problem, and would need to be removed in order to install a more effective leader.

The Performance Management Framework requires that the Chairperson must conduct reviews (as and when necessary) and document those for submission to the Executive Committee for discussion and decisions at its ordinary meeting. The Chairperson may recommend a corrective action, or may recommend the relieving of the member from their duties. The core principle behind the kind of recommendations available for review is that a member of the committee must not remain non-performing for prolonged periods as this creates a collective performance paralyses. Members must either develop or be relieved. Either way, there must be a performing body in the role in question within a reasonable amount of time. This is how high-performance is propelled and sustained in effective organisations.

You may have questions as to why the review of the two Executive members specifically? Is this linked with my opening statement here-above when I said Phelindaba Local Football Association has problems?

Let us get back to that.

I said that before we look into the operational problem sources, we best look at the leadership first. I gave account of the Congress. I also gave account of the Executive Committee. Now, let me give account of the operations themselves by expanding of the Problem Discription.

The problems we face that are common with all stakeholders of the association have to do with the smooth running (or not) of the leagues. Some of the visible problems are:

  • We fail to consistently provide the block fixtures for operational stability;
  • We fail to have all matches officiated on time by the originally allocated Match Official(s);
  • We fail to record the statics of the matches (other than update log tables);
  • We fail to pay Match Officials on time;
  • We fail to invoice clubs appropriately on their Team Registration bills;
  • We fail to hold to account clubs that fail to honour their debts with the association; and
  • We fail to discipline those who contravene the Rules of the association, causing an environment of anarchy;

All the above problems cause operational instability from different angles and need to be dealt with speedily.

Going back to the question in relation to performance reviews, that is, why the review of two Executive Committee members specifically? Is this linked with my opening statement here-above when I said Phelindaba Local Football Association has problems?

The answer is a partial ‘yes’.

The Executive Committee will deliberate on these reviews and provide feedback to the Members of the association on the 9th of June 2019. In the meantime we will communicate some immediate and focused remedial actions to try and stabilise the operations, focussing of the leagues and Refereeing on the core side, financial and disciplinary administration on the support side.

Last Monday I met with the Match Officials. They have given me some insight into the Refereeing issues that need urgent attention. I am going to document these and the high level solutions separately. This will be discussed and adopted by the Executive Committee and the outcome will be communicated on the 9th of June 2019.

I will also attend the Leagues and Competitions meetings to also get the feel of the issues there. However, as mentioned, immediate and focused remedial actions will be discussed at the Leagues and Competitions Forum of the 4th of June 2019.

We intend to complete the Super League season on the 16th of June 2019. We also intend to complete all the Intermediary and Junior Leagues on the 13th of October 2019. There isn’t enough time and therefore a lot of sacrifices will have to be endured to realise this. We intend holding the Award Ceremony on the 26th of October 2019, and this time, we intend to award the Top Goal Scorer of the season with accurate records.

The support of all our Stakeholders in our efforts to remediate what has gone wrong is always appreciated.

Sizwe Nkosi – Chairperson of PLFA


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