In this part of the world, very few individuals climb up to become successful footballers and athletes, with the masses remaining under the ladder as underdogs of social and economic circumstances.
Facts contributing to athletes becoming, especially impoverished in life have been identified by the President of Foundation for Generational Thinkers (FOGET), Prosper Dan Afetsi, as a failure on their parts and that of the state to give them additional skills.
According to him, a holistic sport policy is the one that incorporates education and skills learning in the youths to give them more advantage in life.
He cited incidents that due to illiteracy, some players signed a contract that nearly ended them up in modern form ‘slavery’ because they could neither read nor write. Others too after retiring from active sports have to live on alms to survive.
A situation, Mr Afetsi deemed as unfortunate for such a fate to befall any hero, who had worked hard to serve the country through sport. He then blamed the incident on athletes for also not investing wisely as well as not seeing the need to pursue their education or other skills.
He said some athletes at early stages do not even see the need of going to school or acquiring an artisanal skill that would come in handy in case of any eventuality, but will rather join a company to become ‘Kobolo,’ meaning a member of a roaming squad.
Mr Afetsi advised the youth to consider additional hand – on skills that would become useful when events take a nosedive, saying “This is will ensure that you don’t end up becoming unemployed when the sporting career gets truncated as a result of injuries, among other things.”
The philanthropist said this while presenting water pumping machine on behalf of FOGET to football teams at Pambros-Wiaboman in Dansoman, Accra this week.
The presentation was necessitated by the occasional flooding of the park whenever it rains.
He said sports is one area that consumes a lot of time and needs discipline in training and exercising but the danger of it lies in lack of conscious effort on the part of the athlete to learn other basics life skills.
Mr Afetsi said, “That is why as a sports person, you must do all you can to succeed at all endeavours.”
Although sports academy has recently emerged in a way to bridge the gap between academics and sports, he further suggested that government must provide social security as a form of guarantee to the service athletes render to the country.
He also suggested that the Sports Ministry and the Youth Authority must from time to time engage the youth on the advice that sport career does not end on the field or the tracks but how well one can develop other skills.
“We need the youth because they are one important group in society. The youth hold the key to the future so if we do not make them complete then we are in trouble.
“We have a serious unemployment situation and the problem might worsen, if things continue in the same manner, it will also affect the country’s security since some of them would want to engage in security activities to survive,” Mr Afetsi added.