SA footballers have often been stereotyped as being financially reckless. Many talented footballers in the country have gone broke after retiring. Lerato Chabangu is the latest former player to encounter financial trouble, losing all of his earnings from his successful career. Finances and football are a tricky topic. It may seem easy to fans, who see players working and training a few hours a day and making solid earnings, but the reality is that many players struggle financially regardless of how much they make and for how long.
Sekhukhune United midfielder Linda Mntambo highlights the difficulties footballers face in becoming the breadwinners in their families from a young age. He explains that 90% of footballers come from disadvantaged backgrounds and are relied upon by their families. In contrast, players from more privileged backgrounds, like “Dylan,” have the luxury of their money belonging solely to them. Footballers from underprivileged backgrounds constantly receive messages from family members reminding them of their obligations, creating additional pressure on their finances.
Mntambo emphasizes that the images of success portrayed on Instagram are not reflective of the struggles faced by footballers. He stresses that life is defeating them and that many resort to sleeping tablets to cope with the pressure. Despite the glamorous perception of professional football, Mntambo sheds light on the reality of financial challenges faced by many players.
In conclusion, the financial struggle experienced by footballers in South Africa is a significant issue. Many talented players find it difficult to manage their earnings and support their families. The pressure to be the breadwinner and the expectations placed on them by their disadvantaged backgrounds add to the challenges they face. It is important to recognize and address these difficulties to support the financial well-being of footballers after their careers.