Last update: 08-Dec-2013 4:55 am
Sunday, December 08, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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‘UTT can’t pay Ganga for his services’
The University of T&T (UTT) has dismissed rumours that former national cricket captain and sport ambassador Daren Ganga is underqualified and overpaid as the university’s senior manager, sport and recreation—a position he recently landed for three years.
Vice president of business development and marketing at UTT Navneet Boodhai defended Ganga’s employment on Friday, saying while he does not possess a master’s degree in sports management, he has more than 20 years’ experience in sports at the local, regional and international levels. Boodhai felt Ganga was the right fit for the job. Ganga, who was a recipient of the Hummingbird Gold medal for his contribution in the area of sports, was appointed on October 7. He was given a six-month probation period.
If Ganga fails to deliver, Boodhai said, the board will make a decision. Boodhai said the position, which was advertised in February, required:
• A master’s degree in sport management/administration or related social sciences field
• A minimum of six years of combined leadership and managerial experience in a similar position and professional field
• Certificates in leadership, coaching and professional development an asset
The advertisement, Boodhai said, also said equivalent combinations of education and experience would be considered. “This is not an academic teaching position but an administrative position. “Daren has led teams and successfully mentored athletes, which is part of his role at UTT. We currently have 89 high-performing athletes on the programme, most of whom play at the national level.”
Boodhai said while Ganga does not possess a master’s degree, he was appointed to specifically deal with the university’s sports management programme based on his wealth of sporting experience, mentorship and leadership qualities. “Nobody in the country could say that Daren never led a sports programme in the country successfully.” Boodhai said because Ganga was a sport ambassador, this would lift and improve UTT’s brand and its sporting programme.
Part of Ganga’s job involves giving direction and support to UTT’s eight coaches, among them Everald Cummings and Anthony Gray. The sporting disciplines that fall under the programme are netball, table tennis, cricket, football, volleyball, basketball and swimming.
Boodhai: The position attracted seven applicants
Boodhai explained that the position attracted seven applicants: Larry Romany, Mushtaque Mohammed, Lloyd Creed, Simone De Gannes Lange, Moriba Baker, Rajindra Maharaj and Ganga. Asked if Ganga was overpaid and underqualified for the position, Boodhai said that based on his calibre in sports, UTT could not pay him for his services. Boodhai said UTT needed to take a new direction in terms of sports and sport development in the country.
“We now have someone who has stood among the best when it comes to leadership and mentorship qualities for young people. We saw that in Daren Ganga.” In the last two weeks, Boodhai said, Ganga has met each coach to discuss their work plan for 2014 and has also been trying to motivate his coaches and students. “He is also trying to get better accommodation and stuff for these athletes because they are not in the best facilities at O’Meara Heights.”
President of UTT Prof Dyer Narinesingh said Ganga scored the highest marks after the interview process, which was taken to the board and approved. “I think Ganga will prove his worth and be an asset to the university,” Narinesingh said.
‘I am still at a crossroads’
Contacted on Friday, Ganga said while he does not have a master’s degree, he had the experience. His intention, he said, was to pursue his master’s or legal practice course. “Yes, my intention is to go to either do a master’s or legal practice course which is attached to my law degree. I am still at a crossroads in terms of it. “Those are options I have in front of me. I had to choose the option of studying through the University of London, the external programme, while I was playing international cricket.”
The cricket star said juggling sports and studies was difficult for him. He admitted that international sports do not allow much time for structured studies. “We are now moving as a university to opening up online opportunities where students can study and have the flexibility of pursuing other goals, while aligned to the university.” He also said he took a two-year leave from Petrotrin, where he worked as a communications assistant.
Ganga said he saw the job offering as a stepping stone for him and also an opportunity for him to help improve the lives of others. At the end of two years, Ganga said, he would have to make a decision either to re-apply to Petrotrin or remain at UTT. Ganga said he was very interested in making a contribution to shape the sporting programme that would allow young student athletes the opportunity to develop and get the best of both worlds—sport and academia.
“It is a perfect fit. It is an area that I can add quality to and make a solid contribution.” Ganga refused to comment on his salary.
Some of Ganga’s duties:
• Oversee UTT’s success and high performance sports programmes
• Promote UTT’s brand and image, student athletes and teams
• Ensure the maintenance of psychological and physical wellbeing of athletes
• Support students’ academic pursuits
• Negotiate contracts, sales and transfer of athletes
• Ensure all coaching is delivered to established quality standards
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