After the dazzling on the sports stage, majority of the athletes live an impoverished life. But this is not the case for all former athletes as there are many of them who are doing well in life after their respective careers.
Ironically, those athletes deemed destitute continually blame their respective associations whereas others continue to ask for bailout from their associations after messing up their opportunities.
Too often, associations are blamed for not taking care of former athletes despite having no obligation to look after athletes after their respective careers.
Interestingly, athletes are some of the highest paid people in the world but poor lifestyles turn them into destitutes after retirement.
Renowned football analyst, George Kaudza-Masina blamed athletes for failing to prepare for life after retirement.
“The players get money just any like other employee but they lack management skills. Secondly, we have a poor system where we do not advise our athletes on how to spend their money,” he said.
Recently, Malawi national football team goalkeeper, Clement Chimbalame Mkwalula came in the open that he was struggling to raise about K5 million to undergo a knee operation. Mkwalula’s ordeal is just a tip of iceberg as there are many athletes wo are struggling.
Associations such as Football Association of Malawi (Fam), Malawi Boxing Association (Maba) and Netball Association of Malawi (Nam) do not have obligations to assist former athletes when in dire need.
Maba president Pyson Likagwa said the association always encourages athletes to have a saving culture and venture into business.
“We engage athletes so that they have a saving culture to prepare for life after football,” Likagwa said.
Despite Maba’s claim, there are several former boxers who are penniless.
Renowned former boxer Philemon Nkhakamila Banda said he was struggling to raise K250,000 to enroll for driving school.
“As former boxers, we are abandoned despite contributing to the development of boxing in Malawi. I am living below poverty line and it is not easy for me to feed my family,” he added.
Former Flames defender Clement Kafwafwa, who had a stint in Denmark, said life was normal, having prepared for his retirement.
He said time was ripe for athletes to behave like any other employee.
“The issue here is quite broad, for a very long-time football and other sporting disciplines have always been viewed as a hobby and they are not given any serious thought. However, the athletes themselves need to take themselves seriously, it has to start with them not just to focus on the present but life after their career because history will not assess you for what you achieved in your prime years but after career,” Kafwafwa, who is an entrepreneur and also the current Flames’ Team Manager said.
Former Flames midfielder Joseph Kamwendo said every athlete must prepare for life after one’s career.
“I am able to fend for myself through a small business of selling sports equipment. It is not good for athletes to turn into beggars but they should work hard and feed their families,” Kamwendo who hanged up his boots at the end of last season having an illustrious career for over years said.
In his football career, Kamwendo played for Caps United of Zimbabwe, FC Norsjaelland in Denmark, TP Mazembe of Democratic Republic of Congo, Orlando Pirates and Vasco Da Gama (both South Africa) and Deportivo Malcumana of Mozambique. On the local scene, he played for Be Forward Wanderers and Civo Service United.