Education. It is becoming increasingly important for footballers to be educated. Not just footballers but young people in our society, the need becomes more glaring as the day goes by.
Last week, Nasarawa United striker, Orji Maduka spoke on the need for footballers to be educated, having acquired two degrees in English and Business Management, he said that footballers and sportsmen/women have limited career and should plan for life after retirement.
“Football is a hobby, you have to understand that, though other people’s perspective might be different, there is money in football and you need to be good at it to be successful.
“Being a footballer, you need to know that there is always a rainy day, so you need to have what to fall back to. It’s okay to be educated to a certain level so that you know what to do after football.
“Education will help one establish himself when they retire from the game, though some people do not have the opportunity to go to school, it is important to know and understand how you will end your career.”
Many footballers will struggle to settle in a new club, new language, new culture, new league and style of play. As a professional footballer, it might take you days, weeks and months to settle into a new club, but if you have communication issues, you might not even settle in.
I’ve been part of a media platform in which footballers and media professionals in the Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL, invited for an interview and they will struggle to speak. Most of them because of their inability to communicate effectively, will say what they are not supposed to say which will make very good headlines for media houses.
This is not only happening in Nigeria. Former Arsenal coach Unai Emery was a victim of this among other things during his time with the Gunners. He recently came out to acknowledge how his ‘good ebening‘ was appreciated when the team won but received abuse when the team were not doing well. Players spoke of the difficulty in understanding instructions from the Spaniard because his English was very poor.
In Africa and another part of the world, English is not the official language, most of this countries are monolingual whereas, in a multilingual nation like Nigeria, where there are over 500 native languages, one can’t help but learn communication skills of speaking the official language. Footballers from other countries who are not interested in speaking the English language, travel with interpreters who are well paid to interpret for them, Nigerian footballers who travel to these countries to play always need an interpreter to help them, so it would not be so bad to think in that direction.
If I play audio files of most interviews we have with footballers in Nigeria, you will appreciate more of what we do, it is sometimes very awful. At the same time, there are footballers who speaks with authority and confident, they understand the full grasp of the language and are able to communicate well.
Look, all I am saying is, the mentality of someone saying, I want to play football and forgets about education should be thrown very far away. Everyone needs education, if you don’t want to learn the English language, then be well educated in your language with composure and find yourself an interpreter, people spent a lot of money to go school and they can take interpretation as a job.
If you are a footballer and wants to play beyond your state of origin, you are good and talented enough to play to the highest level, then know that one day, what you refused to learn freely, will become a must for survival if you find yourself in an English speaking country, else you will be left behind. I understand the fact that many people did not have the opportunity to go to school and football became a way of getting out of idleness.
But today in Nigeria, almost all the states are offering free education to pupils in primary schools and some states, to tertiary level, take advantage of the system no matter how poor it is and help yourself and career.
If you are already out of that league, please find a private tutor, create time for study, it will help in the future. This is just a message from a concerned brother.
Footballers like Juan Mata holds a degree in journalism, former Liverpool goalkeeper, Simon Mignolet holds a degree in Political science, Andres Iniesta holds a degree in Biology, Frank Lampard excelled in Latin and scored 11GCSEs.
Also, think about yourself aster retirement, you could become a pundit and earn a lot of money, you could become a coach, you may want to venture into scouting or even a columnist if you love writing, what about podcasting, you could become an agent, personal manager to players and other sports related occupations. Think about it, education is important and very useful in the world today, do not allow the money you are earning to make you feel so relaxed, your playing career is very short and will soon be over.
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Happy new month.
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