NSAs must step up
ARE the National Sports Associations (NSAs) ready to play a bigger and more responsible role in the development of their respective sports?
This is the million-ringgit question the Minister of Youth and Sports, Datuk Azalina Othman Said, is posing to NSAs.
In fact, the same question was also posed to the Olympic Council of Malaysia 9OCM) as to whether they can be responsible for their affiliates (the NSAs) and monitor them to ensure that development work if done.
Although the initial reaction from OCM was that they did not have the resources to take on a huge task as that, but a follow up meeting by their Strategic Plan and Implementation Committee headed by OCM Deputy President, Datuk Dr. M Jegathesan has seen them give an undertaking to work in line of Datuk Azalina’s request.
A Malaysian Sports Summit is the first move by OCM to get all stakeholders to discuss, among others, the proposed re-structuring of the National Sports Council (NSC) and role of NSAs in development.
Other matters to be studied include the role of OCM and NSAs in relation to the proposed new NSC structure, to identify and eliminate areas of duplication between NSC and OCM and to identify and implement more important programmes between NSC and OCM
The Committee also agreed with the Azalina’s views that over the years, the NSC has been burdened with too many responsibilities, thereby reducing its effectiveness in running its core business, which is the training of national athletes to excel at world and Asian levels, with emphasis on the Olympic, Commonwealth, Asian and SEA Games.
In addition, the Committee has proposed to prepare a working paper to submit to Azalina for her information and consideration.
The paper will be a situational analysis of OCM, its existing role and responsibilities and its plans and strategies. In addition, OCM will carry out a rating exercise of its members, identifying their existing status and their potential to produce Olympic, Commonwealth and Asian Games champions.
The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) who were the first of the eight core sports which Datuk Azalina visited, also gave a positive feedback with the deputy president Tunku Abdul Majid Sultan Iskandar giving an undertaking that he will be responsible for his affiliates to work hard at development and also to monitor them.
Soccer was the second sports the Minister visited to get feedback and their undertaking to be serious about taking over the responsibility of development of their sports in a big way.
With another positive feedback from FA of Malaysia, it is hoped that the remaining NSAs Azalina will be visiting, will also give a positive undertaking.
However, giving the undertaking is one thing and walking the talk is another.
Malaysian sports has indeed come a crossroad where it is at a junction where the future is at stake.
Over the years, more and more NSAs have neglected development work of their respective sports and the current state of Malaysian sports has a great deal to do with it.
The National Sports Council (NSC) has taken on the role of development that it has come to a point where it realises that it has taken on more than it can chew and elite athletes’ preparation has been compromised.
With NSC expected to concentrate on its core business which is elite athletes preparations, NSAs together with their affiliates will have to step to start playing a more bigger and responsible role.
NSAs also cannot continue to be depending solely on the Government to be totally be funding from A to Z.
While the Government is still going to fund development, but with a more stringent approach where accountability, meeting KPIs and constant monitoring, NSAs themselves find their own funds.
There could be a fine day that the Government decides not to fund as much as they are for sports and put it to other areas and if NSAs and their affiliates are not standing on their own feet, it could be a black day for Malaysian sports and could well suffer a natural death.
Azalina has already started talking about matching funds and NSAs and their affiliates should take the cue and get more responsibly.
There are already several NSAs like badminton, squash and tenpin bowling to name a few who already have been sourcing for their own funds and it is no surprise that they are ahead of other NSAs not only in terms of professional management and administration, but the performance of their sports itself.
More NSAs have to follow suit, and presidents and senior members of the respective NSAs, have to start the ball rolling to put their associations on firmer grounds and not just expect the Government to funding them all the time.
NSAs are the guardians of their respective sports and unless they make a concerted effort for their bodies to more focused and aggressive in the development of their sports, it is their sport which is eventually going to suffer a natural death.
It is about time too for NSAs to be managed professionally with professional staffing. Volunteerism is fine, but where a solid commitment is requires to get NSAs moving, professionals have to be hired to manage NSAs like corporate companies.
The time has come to determine the future of Malaysian sports finally and NSAs and their affiliates have to stand up and be counted or left out!