BPL to reappoint General Manager
The second plum post of General Manager at the league house is being resuscitated again, and indications are that an intensive recruitment exercise is underway with an appointment expected before end of September, WeekendSport has established.
The post was phased out in 2012 following the ascendency of Bennett Mamelodi to the then ‘newly invented’ post of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). But after meeting at the close of last season at Mahalapye, for a reform process, the premiership agreed in unison to draw a strategy to further improve working relations with their partners. The strategy demanded that the CEO should have a junior to help in the daily administration of the league.
It is believed that the league house will engage the normal procedure of employment, and if not satisfied, they will resort to a head hunting exercise, the same method that was used to appoint the incumbent CEO.
Before the employment of a CEO, the post of general manager was the highest position at the often troubled league house and was held by one Setete Phuthego for a considerable length of time. His infamous football fall out with the CEO led to his unceremoniously bowing out until the post was deemed irrelevant.
This was the case because observers had two-fold assertions. One was that the CEO position had swallowed the duties of the general manager and the ever common one that Phuthego and Mamelodi would never eat from the same plate.
All the while, the league house seems to be repairing the past damage with their accelerated attempts to hire a general manager. The suitable candidate is expected to report directly to the CEO. The portfolio of the GM gives the candidate supreme powers to coordinates league standing committees. The league has committees responsible for finances, marketing and one accountable for league strategies.
While uproar is anticipated behind closed doors regarding the legality of the standing committees, the surety by those who drive domestic football is that the time is nigh to carry the league to greater heights.
“Yes, it has long been indicated through our board of Governors that a GM has to be employed to help in attaining goals of professionalism,” The CEO said. He further implied: “money has been the issue but everything seems to be in place now.”
The identified general manager is also expected to coordinate and assist in planning of the premier league, while the ability to provide secretarial services to the BPL management committee is also a needed expertise.
The appointment of a league general manager will consequently mean that the CEO’s portfolio be amended. Sources speaking with this publication confirm that the contract of the CEO is being amended to outline job specifications and ensure they don’t clash with those of the GM.
While the chief duty of the CEO is to consistently source sponsors for the league, the task force committee appointed after the retreat has advised that it will be a prudent decision to also align the CEO’s portfolio or contract with the league strategy as this will convince doubting Thomases on their willingness to stand independently. The task force is reported to have already given their recommendations regarding the way forward.
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AFRICA’S RECOVERY: Sports as game changer
The year 2022 witnessed unprecedented phenomena. Several Africans- Gotytom Gebreslase, Sharon Lokedi, Victor Kiplangat, Tamarit Tola and many others- swept the World’s marathons records.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting control measures implemented in several countries, led to many high-level sports competitions being cancelled or shelved, the Dakar 2022 Youth Olympic Games was moved to 2026.
Founder and Executive Chairman, African Sports and Creative Institute, Will Mabiakop, says the inability to hold traditional and amateur sports events have had a serious effect on public health overall, including mental health, sparking a revolution whereby athletes began to talk more openly about stress, mental overload and performance anxiety.
“Africa is home to the fastest growing economies before the crisis, no longer on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). COVID-19 deepened interdependence between SDGs, making them harder to achieve, especially SDG 10 (reducing inequality) and SDG 5 (gender equality_ as the pandemic had a disproportionate impact on poorer countries, and heavier burdens (such as care work) fell to women.”
Mabiakop stresses that as policymakers contemplate actions to speed up recovery and build resilience, they must argue that sports and creative businesses should play a central feature in this effort.
“The sports economy worldwide is estimated at 5% of GDP, but only 0.5% in Africa. If exploited, Africa’s sports and creative industries can offer policymakers innovative solutions. Especially, as regards job creation, and providing employment to the 15 million people entering the job market annually.”
HOW CAN THE INDUSTRY DO THIS?
By leveraging the two-for-one concept: past studies shown that a 1% growth in the economy delivers a 2% job increment in this sector (these ratios are calculated using data from 48 African countries and adjusted to the reality of the sports economy in Africa by the authors). There are between 30 and 50 job types, in sports and creative industries, respectively. These jobs do not fade away with the first major shock.
Mabiakop indicated that policymakers can use these industries to tackle multiple crises- jobs, poverty, and climate risks. Sports diplomacy- defined as communication, representation and negotiation in or through the prism of sports- has proven effective in building inclusive and cohesive societies. Moreover, sports and the creative industry can support better mental health and well-being, both important for productivity.
“Policymakers can also be true to the game by leveraging culture and tradition to celebrate identity and reap commercial value in sports, textiles and jewelry. Creative sectors allow deeper connection with culture, are not easily copied and provide great economic potential.”
He said supporting grassroots sports has powerful distributional effects. “Fortunately, technology has made reaching wide audiences easier, generating higher rates of success when talent is discovered.”
However, Mabiakop held that potential pitfalls must be highlighted. “First avoid build it and they will come policies with infrastructures denuded from the rest of the ecosystem. Like the many sports stadiums left largely unused.”
“Policymakers must remain mindful of how these sectors move the needle in human capital development. Also, align the requisite public policies needed for progress from grassroots participation to professional sports, and even to international sporting events. They should also support investment instruments to render these sectors performant.”