Desperate times in PH sportsBy Sev Sarmenta
Philippine Daily Inquirer
We must be really getting desperate.
Change is being clamored for at the Philippine Olympic Committee but there are no real challengers to date to current chair Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr., a former congressman who’s running for another term in November. The name of businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan has been bandied about as an alternative but it seems more productive that MVP stay basically as a patron to the sports he has chosen to help.
In his column yesterday, Recah Trinidad mentioned that it would be “heroic” for MVP to take up the cudgels for sports but it seemed that “they’re trying to use him to patch up the tattered and scandalous POC image.”
The MVP way of running companies and sports, where trusted lieutenants are given responsibility to oversee operations, may not work efficiently in the POC framework where national sports association heads may not necessarily be accustomed to a management by objectives culture. The world of sports is not exactly anchored on a business model.
The POC and even the PSC chairmanships are thankless jobs and often, those who feel that they can do some thing about sports are those who aspire or hang on to the positions. There is too much politicking to do and not enough money to support national elite athletes, a grassroots development program or extensive participation in international sports events. At best, these jobs and even those at the national sports association levels are more voluntary and passion-driven than career motivated unlike regular professional employment in an organization.
Maybe that’s why politicians are often chosen to head sports associations because of the alliances that have to be made. There are publics to manage like athletes, international sports associations, media and the followers of a given sport. It takes a deft people person, a politician really, to connect to all of these. The businessman sports leader may not have the time or patience to juggle all these relating jobs and will have to appoint a trusted executive director for the daily needs of an organization.
However, Filipinos don’t like to deal with the lieutenants but with the top honcho himself.
Resources like money don’t always solve the relationship problems or achieve the objectives of a sports association. Many business leaders who tried to help the sports they loved gave up because they couldn’t run the governing sports associations like their businesses. There were too many egos, parents or relationships to nurture and not enough dedication to the sport with a team concept in mind.
Where does that leave Philippine sports now with debacles piling up, upcoming international sports events and a world that is several steps ahead of us in training, nutrition, coaching and competition? Who can initiate change to at least start the ball rolling for better performances and achievements?
I can’t think of any name. Now, I’m getting desperate.
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