• March 29th, 2020

My weekly take away - Why athletes need a backup plan beyond their careers

Young athletes, those who partake in football, basketball, boxing and other sports, dream of having professional careers someday. However, only a select few will make it to the pros and out of those who do, those careers are often short-lived due to injuries or other career-ending calamities.

The crisis in Namibian football has become a weekly topic. The future of football in the country remains mysterious, as a result, those who depend on playing football for their livelihood now find themselves with no source of income. Faced with that type of situation, let’s engage on the importance of a backup plan for life after a sports career is gone or ends. 

In Namibia, how many parents, teachers and coaches talk to young athletes about having a backup plan in case of unexpected injuries, rejection, especially after a long career? We need to start having these kind of conversations with our athletes at a very early stage of their careers. The sooner, the better because the reality is, no athletes knows what the future holds for him or her. 

In any sport, there is no guarantee that you as an athlete will not be exposed to a career-ending injury and therefore the importance of having a backup plan in case of such misfortunes. Unfortunately, once your career is over, it is really over. What will be left of you will just be memories of what was and what could have been.  

Playing sport generally makes up a huge part of an athlete’s identity and self-worth. In fact, athletes cope more easily with forced or anticipated retirement if they have a proper backup plan in place such as an education or business. I personally believe those two [education and business] will definitely guarantee you a decent livelihood outside sport, in case your career is cut short.

We need to cultivate more sport personal development seminars in Namibia, encouraging athletes to succeed and plan outside sport. Career counseling for athletes needs improvement as well. The sport industry the world over is a fruit market and many countries have taken notice and have put shoulder to the wheel seriously investing in their respective sectors and athletes, and the rewards are there for all to see. 
It is important to consider your athletes in terms of, what if he doesn’t do well at the next level or gets injured?

What other options or opportunities have you prepared for them to have? Let’s learn a lesson from the current football crisis in Namibia and do better in future. 

*Stefan Ngolo is a Sports Development Officer at the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service in the //Kharas region. He can be reached at ngoloset@gmail.com.

Staff Reporter
2020-02-12 07:50:00 | 1 months ago

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