By Perkins-Tino Bare.

(News Of The South) – Alexander Graham Bell was once quoted as saying, “When one door closes, another one opens, but we often look so long and regretfully at the closed door that we fail to see the one that has opened for us.”

Whilst it may be true that “the best time to start thinking about your retirement is before the boss does` career retirement of athletes is an important watershed change that is often overlooked. Athletic retirement or transition is inevitable for all athletes. One thing that comes with the glitz and the glamour of being successful in sports is often the misconception that one will not be affected by this transition. The transition comes right at that moment when their peers who have not been involved in Sports are just about to kick start their careers and settle down in their late 30s and this after having started a sporting career at in probably your late teens is no easy position to switch on to a different life which is apart from all you`ve known.

Although no qualifications are required, many players are advised to continue their studies and consider their career after their career in sports and with most players retiring in their early to mid 30’s although injuries can force an even earlier retirement the education one would have acquired would come in handy and this does not have to be necessarily tied down to the certain studies it also includes studies in management which would then enable one to be involved in management after their career.

Speaking to BBC on the current turmoil at Zifa Bruce Grobbelaar said, “I think ZIFA needs to be dissolved and the organisation started again from scratch. But how can that happen? Governments cannot interfere in football matters – FIFA suspends countries for that. He then went on to add, “The new ZIFA would need to be an independent organisation, but who is going to set that up? There are too many hands in the pot of money that comes from Fifa.” “It would need a strong individual that everyone knows in Zimbabwe.” Grobbelaar told BBC.

We have numerous greats who seem to have distanced themselves from the game and just like most players they map out a retirement package that is detached from the game as they start a new phase in their lives. A couple of years back Heath Streak successfully set up his Cricket Academy in Bulawayo and we also have Norman Mapeza who is with FC Platinum but just a few numbers are not enough. The major problem here is that we have many respected, passionate former players who would so much love to be in management but are not even qualified to be schoolboy coach whereas on the other hand we have a bunch of qualified bastards who are just in it for the money and would easily move on to other ventures.

One likely example is Alois Bunjira, who despite being a respected former player of Caps United since he knows the system he has not been allowed anywhere near the management structures at CAPS which has seen him just as most players often do being limited to being a pundit only. This is quite sad for clubs should at least offer the players a chance to enhance their coaching badges whilst still in action which would then allow them to put to practice their experience and their qualifications to good use after their playing days are over.

As much of a utopia as this may sound, the difference between a sporting careers per continent is that whilst in Africa one would look to capitalize as much as they can on their playing years which is from their late teens well into their late 30s this would give an average sportsman about 16 years of a professional career but all this comes before a person has fully settled down. This in contrast to Europe whereby with the commercialisation of sport, one is able to stretch their career well into their 60s and the American system has indeed made much progress in that area as athletes are often educated on life after sports.

So as the tailor-made Chevron bade his farewell to his compatriots down under to take up a 3 year contract with Nottingamshire and as our sportsmen do not really have viable retirement plans which allow them to be involved with their sport even after their playing days are over which then forces them to map out a quick one which is more or less what Brendan Taylor did but the difference is that in as much as he would have wanted to see to it in his country of birth it is literally impossible which only left him with the option of county cricket which would help him gather a couple of quid to ensure a bright future for his family.

One has a very successful career and even with a decent one , all that matters is that they are living the dream by pursuing the life they chose well to some that is just a means of survival. But truth of the matter people get old and so does your talent and in most instances when a club is no longer in need of one`s services they get dumped back to the streets.

The status-quo in Zimbabwean sports is that whereby we have clubs owing players huge amounts of money and the players having to drag their clubs to court or just boycott to get at least something out of the club. We have ZIFA which has become a popular visiting place and currently in dire financial trouble and in debt totaling more US$4m for the messenger of court though (I don`t know what they are still attaching though). We also have various clubs and even Zimbabwe Cricket who are widely known for boycotting whenever the funds are not coming in and when players have to take the drastic measures just to ensure that they get paid it just shows the dire state that we find ourselves in .
The truth of the matter is, in as much as we would love to have both passion and qualifications in management as long as our athletes do not realise the importance of their involvement in sports which would also require them being qualified, it will come in handy for Zimbabwe to eventually solve this management crisis we are in.

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