Booze, clubbing and ladies are some of the things which are linked with football players especially when at the top of their careers.
Some of the players are believed to misuse the little money they make out of the game which turns them into beggars when their careers come to an end.┬á
There are a number of players worldwide whose careers took a nosedive because of abuse of alcohol and drugs. Investigations have revealed that local clubs are not doing enough to educate their players on how to deal with being in the spotlight.
Former England striker Paul Gascoigne was once a star but his alcoholism spiraled out of control, leading to his career suffering a major blow.
Today at the age of 47, he is still struggling and the past week he was making ends meet by flogging signed photos starting from 20 pounds (P282).
In neighbouring South Africa, a promising youngster Mabusisane Zongo also saw his career fall apart because alcohol abuse.
In the past week the former Chippa United midfielder completed his rehabilitation and was hoping to make a comeback at the age of 24.
Locally, the incident of Masule made some football followers recall the day when FC Satmos lost their young defender Keoagile Tom who was stabbed to death at a Splash Festival in Selebi-Phikwe.
This was 10 years ago and the country lost a defender who could have served the national team.
While Rollers have tried to play down the incident on their website claiming that the goalkeeper was injured in training, the issue has left many people calling for clubs to come up with plans aimed at educating their players on how to behave when they are in public.
“It is unfortunate that the clubs are doing little to avoid situations like that of Mwampole. If we want to head towards the professional set-up, we need to protect our players.┬á Our officials must know that their responsibility go beyond the match.
Unfortunately in Botswana some of our officials go on drinking sprees with players which makes it difficult for them to know the right and wrong. Even the supporters have to play a role in this regard,” said one coach who did not want to be named. Rollers’ manager, Motshegetsi Mafa, said that the weekend’s incident was unfortunate and should serve as a wake-up call to their players.
He said as a club they always try to educate their players on what it means to be in the spotlight and how to handle the pressure which comes with it.
“During the pre-season we always try to talk to these boys about life in general. We also have a code of conduct at the club which guides us what to do when a player misbehaves. As a manager I know that my role does not only include preparing for the match day but it is unfortunate to see some these things happening. Mwampole is still a young boy we’ll talk to him in order to guide him because he has huge potential. We must understand that sometimes it is difficult for these boys to handle the fame which comes with playing for such a big club,” said Mafa on Friday morning.┬á
He called on the supporters to help the clubs by guiding these youngsters and said it is inhuman for supporters to go on a drinking spree with the players yet expect them to compete at a higher level.
“There is nothing wrong with supporters helping in building the players’ future but for others negative stuff it is wrong,” Rollers’ manager added.
Football columnist Thuso Palai said there is a need to do a lot of man management. He said it is disappointing that most of football players do not know how to behave when in public.
“As long as our administrators do not act in order to teach these boys we’re going to remain stuck in this situation. When you’re an athlete it doesn’t augur well when you find that you involved in situations which would tarnish your name,” said Palai.
He pointed out that it is the role of club managers to educate the players.
“What makes it worse is that some of these players abuse social networks. It is disturbing to find athletes engaged in heated arguments with fans on the networks,” he said.
Former Zebras’ striker Dipsy Selolwane said that players need to learn that their privacy is no more as long as they are involved in the game.
Having played in the South African Premier League, Selolwane admitted that sometimes it is difficult to handle fame.
“As an individual there is a need to own up because most people look up to us. If we don’t behave in a certain manner, we’ll lose that respect. As long as you’re a footballer, you not living for yourself but your fans,” said the former Ajax Capetown striker.
He called on club officials to do their best in educating the youngsters.┬á University of Botswana lecturer Professor Onyewadume called on the clubs to have regulations in place which guides them if one of their players is involved in such incidents.
He urged the players to know that they are role models and they are expected to behave in a certain way.
“The continued abuse of alcohol also affects the players’ performance in a long way. They (players) should also know that football is a short career and they must make the best out of it when time still allows,” said Onyewadume.
He agreed with Mafa that supporters also have to play a role in guiding their stars.┬á