Being a professional footballer is fantastic. Being cheered everywhere, using the best cars and dating the most beautiful women, making the headlines every single day, who doesn’t want this?
It’s every young footballer’s dream to be like Lionel Messi. But I’m very sure Messi would love to be one of those boys, even if only for a day! It’s just football and nothing else for most footballers. It’s all about twenty two people chasing a ball.
The footballer has very little time to spemd with his wife and children. His season starts in August and ends in May, moving to and fro the country. Most of the time, they are also away on international assignments. Just relaxing might also become a total failure because there’s no privacy when he goes out with his family. It’s hard to relax if you have to take pictures every minute or when a fan needs your autograph. But he has to do it, because if the player does not do it, people see him as being arrogant.
Suppose that he’s being held by the police. The officer will be delighted to exaggerate the story and leak it to the press. “Yes, he drove too fast. The officer might even say he drank too much alcohol and sniffed cocaine. And whether it was his wife, next to him? I do not know.”
These stories, true or not, might cost the player his career. A controversial divorce follows, making him lose half of his assets and he may not be allowed to see his children.
What about footballers who get injured early on in their careers and are left with nothing. The ”Forgotten Footballer” cannot complain because people will think he used to be a professional footballer. Yes, a profession one must envy.
Former Ghana youth international goalkeeper Ali Jarra was forced out of active sports by a strange ailment. Jarra was a member of the Black Starlets that participated in the Under 17 World Cup tournaments in Italy (1991) and Japan (1993).
Mr Jarra, now a goalkeepers coach, runs the Ali Jarra Academy that basically trains goalkeepers. He is assisted by some retired goalkeepers, who conduct training sessions for over 150 goalkeepers from the colts to the premier league divisions at the Mamprobi Indadfa Park in Accra.
While we the fans sit behind our television sets to enjoy the games, the exhausted footballers who reach the finals of a competition after a long season fail to produce the results when it matters most. A vacation of two or three weeks after a long season is what a footballer might enjoy. To me, such a vacation is too short. Maybe that’s why they are paid so much money!