Soccer Africa

South Africa: Footballers Urged to Plan for Future

With football being a relatively short career, Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Minister Zizi Kodwa has encouraged athletes to learn the business of football and its supporting eco systems while still active in their playing careers so they can participate in the industry.

Addressing the International Federation of Professional Footballers (FIFPRO) General Assembly in Cape Town on Tuesday, the Minister expressed concerns about what happens to footballers when they retire from playing.

“Some players may face challenges during the transition from a playing career to a post-playing career, and there is an increasing recognition of the importance of supporting athletes in this transition phase.

“This is where the role of FIFPRO becomes important. Your members need to be empowered; therefore, capacity building should be high in your list of priorities. It should not be by coincidence rather it must be a deliberate and guided process.

“We have seen examples of some top clubs around the world bringing in former players to their coaching and management structures. This is how we have seen former players emerge as top coaches. Yet, many players retire and have nowhere to turn to,” the Minister said.

He emphasised the importance of finding ways for former players, especially those outside the capital centres of football in Europe and Asia, to make a living and to contribute to the sport when their playing careers are over.

“Many former players transition into coaching or management roles within the world of football. They may become youth coaches, assistant coaches, or even head coaches at various levels. Some also take on administrative roles within football clubs or organizations.

“Several retired football players find success in the media industry. They become analysts or commentators for television and radio broadcasts, providing insights and commentary on games and events.

“Some also contribute to print or online publications as sports writers, bloggers, or content creators, sharing their perspectives and experiences in written form. A few players venture into entrepreneurship, starting their own businesses or investing in various ventures,” the Minister said.

Racism in football continues to be a challenge

The Minister called on FIFPRO to think about how it can contribute to uprooting racism in football following a report noting that racism is the most reported form of discrimination reported.

“Players, coaches, officials, and fans continue to be abused because of the colour of their skin. Despite interventions by football authorities, this abuse is continuing, meaning more should be done.