Going through Twitter last week, one @89_59 pictured former AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia sensation Demonde Selenga in his training gear hoping to get a club who will require his services as soon as possible.- in short, he is club less.
Looking at Selenga’s case, I wondered why such a proffesional player couldn’t have anything better to do after it’s clearly evident that his playing lights are becoming dim as the days unfold.
Over the country in recent years, players have limped through retirement depressed, drunk and lost as they stagger through our streets in search of the next course of action. There is nothing that replaces the gladiator rush of their weekends, not fans, not their previous clubs, not anything. They’ve remained silent after the cheering days, bleak in retirement and are unable to find reasons to get out and busy.
Should the current crop of players be more prepared for life from football, more balanced? Well, sure, but in lots of cases, they were successful specifically because they weren’t balanced before football. It takes a certain maniacal zeal to climb a top sports, to outwork all the other competitions addicts, and that zeal can cripple development of other parts of your personality. The more lopsided you are, the more your world revolves around nothing but that of football. The more you ignore the other parts of your personality sculpting and sculpting at that one thing until you’ve made it excellent, then you reach adulthood with arrested developments.
Take Demonde’s case (last AFC Leopards player to score a hat trick) for instance. He does a little more these days than to exercise twice a day at the Imara Daima Estate Grounds here in Nairobi. His entire life has revolved around football and has nothing else to do to cope with the now demanding life.
Imagine if Selenge had an idea of getting his coaching badges while still at AFC or Sofapaka. We could now be talking of him at A Division One club or he could have been a player coach just as players like Omondi (Karuturi Sports) or his close friend at Sofapaka, John Baraza.
Nobody has been insane about football like former Harambee Stars and Gor Mahia defender defender, Julius Owino aka Awilo. I don’t want to talk about him because everyone now knows how he’s been fairing out of football.
Many pointed fingers at the Gor Mahia top brass for not granting him a role when he hanged his boots. My question is, should we just employ anyone because he once played for a particular club with no proper paper works? With proper papers, Awilo could have sought any football related work anywhere and am sure he would get the nod above anyone who came for the same.
Omondi Korea was one of the greatest goalkeepers the green army had. After being offered a role to train his previous club keepers, he took it upon himself to sharpen his skills and make it bigger. Look at him now- what would have made Awilo not follow the same route?
Former Mathare United captain, Kenneth Marley Kimani life had to be cut short in the hands of policemen. Was it the case of money? Hopefully not. Frustrations? I ask myself by who? Playing minutes? Now this is absolute crap. The scenario of the bleak life of our footballers out of football is absolutely worrying.
I’m surprised by this trend, I’m afraid it’s not ending soon. Why do many of us expect our heroes to appear on our local stations talking about soccer, when constructing a sentence in English appears to be a big problem.
I do post match interviews to coaches and players and more than often you ask yourself, ‘What the hell did the MVP say?. We’ve got a master Cliché’ every coach uses when they lose, ‘…….it was a defensive lapse blablabla…..; such an ear sore.
While a few try to stay close to the game, by appearing in club committees or participating in some village tournaments, they do little more than torture themselves, they can’t do anything to recreate the rage they once enjoyed in their hey-days. The passion, anger to perform, the adrenaline- it remains just that- A dream.
Football is a life. A life that many admire but it’s not always rosy on the other part of the field. One day you’ll have to call it a day and live another life. The life away from football is a life that should be embraced by our football stars if such sad scenes are to be considered buried- for now, you can only wish and pray they ponder, they learn and finally they, make a sound decision.
Zax Oguda is an ardent Muhoroni Youth fan and one with an outpouring love of the FKF Division One