Dubbed the “Team Kumul Rugby League Development Plan 2014 – 2017”, it is expected to transform the game for the better.
The comprehensive programme, integrating the existing schoolboys, NRL/AusAid, Digicel Cup and Queensland’s Intrust Super Cup, has been developed for 2014 through to the Rugby League World Cup in 2017.
It will include a national accreditation programme for coaches, trainers, referees and administrators.
New Kumul head coach Mal Meninga and PNG Rugby Football League chief executive officer Brad Tassell have been the men entrusted with delivering the programme.
Yesterday they released details of the plan in the presence of PNGRFL chairman Sandis Taska and Sports Foundation chairman Graham Osborne, whose connections with the Government is necessary to drive such an ambitious programme.
It will certainly cost a substantial amount of money – a budget of which is being compiled but PNGRFL is optimistic that with high profile personalities such as Meninga linked to the programme they will attract the required funding – be it from the Government coffers or the corporate sector.
Like every new initiative it will attract its fair share of optimism and critics as well.
But Tsaka, the man behind the captain’s wheel to steer the ship in the right direction, is adamant that while it is a huge challenge and “a lot of work is yet to be done” – a plan such as the one hatched was necessary to chart a course to take the game to new heights.
It is a cohesive programme that will encompass all the stakeholders of game but we have to start planting before we start harvesting, he says. Makes plenty of sense.
But what he did not mention was that Papua New Guineans need to take ownership of this programme.
There will be pundits out there who will start loading up and start firing bullets that the programme should have been sent out to all stakeholders of the game, including affiliated leagues. That they should make some input into the programme. If not that – they will still come up with something to knock the initiative. That is the nature of the beast.
We agree to a certain extent. But it would require a lot of funding to visit every part of the country where rugby league is played to collect and collate all that information – then take it back and put it together into a comprehensive plan.
It would be painstaking task that would also a considerable amount of time.
But time is something we do not have. Based on past experience and the way we do things in this country, by the time all that is completed, packaged and put through the relevant processes for approval – we would have been halfway through 2014 – and a good part of a year would have passed by. So before critics start launching into attack mode – be mindful that there has been a plan put together by one of the world’s best football brains who has obviously pulled up some information from Queensland Rugby League – tailored it to suit current PNG needs and in consultation with some others, designed a plan to put the game on a path to reach new levels.
Of course we will have to pay big big bucks for that but nothing is cheap these days.
Whether it was worth it – we will know in 2017.