Connect with us
Advertisement

Long in the tooth: Stone broke

Long in the tooth Stone broke

They have tried to take it on the chin but they are all failing – they are literally down and out. The number of professional footballers reporting anxiety and depression symptoms has risen sharply upon football career retirement, a survey by FIFPRO and Footballers Union of Botswana (FUB) has found. These players are stone broke.

Notably, the percentage of professional footballers reporting symptoms of depression has doubled, hence Botho University and FUB reached an approbation to sign a Memorandum of Agreement that will see football athletes enrolling to gain new skills. The Botswana Football Association (BFA) famous for the penny wise and pound foolish approach to issues has all but kicking the can down the road on this matter hence FUB had to rise to the occasion.

FUB conducted an extensive research on their affiliated player associations and surveyed more than 1 500 professional footballers both retired and those that are still active. It is documented that local players live hand to mouth and it is no surprise that the FUB survey reveals this sob story.

It was found out that 95 percent of football players hold BGCSE qualification, 12 percent have gone up to tertiary level while the remainder has Junior Certificate as their academic achievement. This fed to the long standing narrative of why players fail to make ends meet at the sunset of their careers. When local players reach retirement they know they are moving out of a frying pan into the fire!

This study is consistent with another conducted recently after coronavirus forced football to be halted and players started to fret about their future. The previous study has shown FUB that a stitch in time saves nine – this is the reason why in two shakes of a lamb’s tail they engaged Botho University on the prospect of equipping football players.

22 percent of women players and 13 percent of men players reported symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of depression. Eighteen percent (18%) of the women and (16%) sixteen percent of the men reported symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of generalised anxiety. (In most scientific research work, a higher number of women than men report symptoms of depression and anxiety.)

Some players, especially those who have served in the national team feel that they have been taken for a ride by the football governing body therefore the crack up experienced by retired players. But they players seem to get solace from the English idiom, one cannot love and be wise – they so loved the game so much and forgot about their future.

The percentage of players reporting symptoms was significantly higher among those worried about their future in the football industry, the survey found. In a separate survey of 307 players, with a similar mean age, in December and January – before most football competitions were suspended – 11 percent of the female players and six percent of the male players reported symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of depression.

“These figures show there has been a sharp increase in players suffering from anxiety and depression symptoms since the coronavirus shut down professional football, and I fear that this is also the case for the whole of society facing an unprecedented emergency because of Covid-19,” FIFPRO Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Vincent Gouttebarge said.

“In football, suddenly young men and women athletes have to cope with social isolation, a suspension of their working lives and doubts about their future. Some may not be well equipped to confront these changes and we encourage them to seek help from a person they trust or a mental health professional.”

After an encounter with this study, Botho University saw it fit to start offering five (5) academic scholarship to players from certificate level to Master’s degree. Additionally, the university will provide short courses for 100 players, which will be conducted every 3 months. This effectively means that it is back to the drawing board for players because they will have to hit the books.

When speaking about the move, the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development Tumiso Rakgare said, “Each player should understand the importance of planning for the future. There are many areas where they can find space to operate once they retire. A player can coach, follow the administration route, and go into physio and counselling as some of the post career activities.”

But the devil is in the detail, what is BFA’s long term plan when it comes to players? Without a doubt these players who appear to be in troubled waters should blame the BFA’s hit or miss approach when it comes to governing domestic football for the dire straits.

Sport

Athletics clubs run out of finances

28th November 2022

Athletics is one of the sporting activities that for many years has been consistently performing extremely well in international competitions. One of the reasons is the availability of qualified and experienced coaches, who have been working tirelessly on the ground to ensure that they scout talent and develop more athletes.

This content is locked

Login To Unlock The Content!

Continue Reading

Sport

BFL fails to secure 2022/23 sponsor

20th October 2022

For the first time after eons, football clubs plying their trade in the elite league are walking in the shadow of the undefined with nothing concrete agreed and on sight before the commencement of the football season.

This content is locked

Login To Unlock The Content!

Continue Reading

Sport

Letsile Tebogo’s USA move USA on hold

12th October 2022

The current world Under-20 100m record holder, Letsile Tebogo’s anticipated move to the United States of America (USA) has been put on hold, WeekendSport can reveal.

This content is locked

Login To Unlock The Content!

Continue Reading