Challenges of management performance in managing a professional team: a case of AmaZulu Football Club.
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The face value of owning a professional football club in South Africa reflects a lucrative business. The compounding claim is that the majority of football club owners are either former footballers themselves or philanthropists with a love for the sport. The general observation reveals that club owners in this industry do not employ managers with necessary high education, knowledge and skills to manage the club, unlike in the case of white-collar corporates. The current practice has a negative financial implications for the club performance, survival and growth. The onus for management of professional club is to establish congruency of performance goals and objectives between personnel and overall organisational objectives. The objective of the study is to determine extent of effective and efficient management of the financial functions in the professional club. The study seeks to evaluate whether the AmaZulu Football Club (AFC) performs to the objectives of satisfying supporters and fans, interpreted as customers. The study further attempts to analyse whether learning and development at the club promote employees’ innovation. Lastly, the study seeks to determine whether internal processes assist the AFC to achieve a competitive advantage status. A mixed-method approach has been chosen as the strategy to attend on research objectives. Qualitative data was extracted from twelve members of the management team in the AmaZulu Football Club (AFC), and four executives from corporate sponsors of the AFC were also interviewed. Quantitative data was extracted from three hundred and eighty-five (385) customers or fans of the AFC. The NVIVO software package assists to analyse qualitative data using thematic analysis method. The SPSS software package assist to analyse quantitative data using descriptive statistics. The study findings indicate that the financial function manifests efficiently and effectively managed for future financial viability of the club. However, the study found that management handling of performance and productivity of the club was at an unsatisfactory level. The study further found that the organisation was not innovative enough to be competitive. The internal processes are operating below the competitor’s performance, making the club less competent and productive to meet customers and fans expectations. The implications of an executive sponsor should offer strategic guidance and create conditions that can link the AFC to new markets. The club should create an efficient internal system that can elicit effective productivity from the available resources.