Lilongwe sleeping football giants, Civo United, have embarked on a-life-after-football career development programme for players.
Eight of the club’s 25-member squad have already benefited after being enrolled in driving school lessons.
Civo general secretary Rashid Ntelela confirmed paying for driving lessons for veteran Charles Beni, Martin Masoatheka, Gasher Mphinzi, Blessings Phiri, Nelson Kangunje, Wyson Nkhana, Pilirani Makupe and Patrick Gunde.
“We have picked the eight and this goes according to our budget. We had to ask the players if they were willing and ready for the driving lessons and there were others who indicated their immediate need to do so. The next intake will be for eight then nine,” said Ntelela.
With Civo yet to decide on whether to retain interim coach Oscar Kaunda, there is no guarantee that in the event of a new coach coming, he will retain all the players, including those the club has invested in.
Even more, Ntelela admitted that their initiative is a gamble as some players might acquire driver’s licences on Civo’s ticket and sign for other teams.
“We put these players on two-year contracts and this initiative is part of the contractual obligation. We promised them and the driving lessons are costing us K85 000 per player,” he explained.
Beni hailed Civo for the initiative, saying it has excited players who are now playing football comfortably knowing they have a future after football.
“After retirement, we are usually the subject of ridicule as we are rendered destitute. This initiative has come at a right time. Some players are attending courses and have obtained certificates waiting for employment,” he said.
Wanderers general secretary David Kanyenda said they also pay for studies of several players but issues of education are about personal choices. He noted that there are some players who ignore advice to invest in life after football.
Silver general secretary Mike Tembo also said the club spends on secondary school and college education for several players. The Super League of Malawi (Sulom) hailed the clubs, saying the initiative is in line with the contracts clubs are expected to sign with the players.
Civo are among few Super League teams that complied by putting the players on contracts while others dilly-dally for fear of meeting the signing-on fees’ obligation to players once they sign contracts. Most local players only play after signing registration forms for Sulom.
Footballers Association of Malawi recently embarked on skills development programme for former and current players.