Asamoah Gyan, the $240 000-a-week Ghanaian football megastar, has thriving business investments in boxing promotion, music and transportation with a fleet of 20 buses plying Accra-Kumasi streets. He is conscious of life after football.
In Cameroon, Samuel Eto’o Fils, who two years ago became the world’s highest paid footballer with an annual income of $30.3 million after signing for Russia’s Anzhi Makhachkala, owns a telephone supplying company back home boasting a capital base of $199 203.
If the two African footballers’ success stories are too distant, then Zimbabwean Benjamin Mwaruwari also has investments in Malawi where his parents originated from.
Flames veteran striker Esau Kanyenda, too, leads a modest life despite investing in real estate.
But these are few good out of many bad examples of footballers. You know the story with our stars.
In Europe, former England goalkeeper David James has been declared bankrupt in a sad story most footballers can easily relate to.
Why generation after generation of footballers and sports stars never prepare for rainy days baffles me.
Yes, booze, relationships and marriages founded on the fast lane of fame and money when at the peak of careers, have proved to be footballers’ biggest undoing after calling it a day.
‘I served the country for a long time, but you have deserted me’ is the familiar quote from retired footballers.
But wait a minute. My uncle, too, worked as a teacher—for 30 years serving the country grooming future general managers and CEOs—yet he retired and is now back home farming, because that is the only way he can make ends meet.
Indeed, there are many people who, after serving the nation, barely survive, yet they do not seek public sympathy whatsoever.
My question is: If a footballer wilfully plays for a club and country at a monthly upkeep and allowance and invests nothing, why should they, after retirement, bother people?
Is anyone forced to play football? If not, why should former footballers become national liabilities?
“It is not about how much money you get,” former star Chancy Gondwe who, too, messed up his career once told me, “but how much you serve”. Of course, this could be one side of the coin; show me the other side. n