Former Ajax Cape Town midfielder Brent Carelse has called on the current crop of players to act responsibly with their money and start planning for life after football.
The 40-year-old, who won three League titles with Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United, currently serves as the South African Football Players Union’s (SAFPU) Western Cape coordinator and recruitment officer.
And while Carelse agrees that more can still be done to educate players about the pitfalls of reckless spending and the reality of life after retirement, he also believes that players also need to own up, take responsibility and educate themselves.
“I think it’s a choice. You can’t force someone to do something,” he tells SAFL. “We all know what kind of background professional footballers come from. They don’t come from a lot of money and once they get that first pay-cheque it’s like … jeez, you know?
“I’ve been there, a lot of other guys have been there, but I think it’s more about education. Obviously we need to educate the current crop to educate themselves. We have Standard Bank as a partner at SAFPU for financial decisions and advice, so the players have the options. But they need to do it themselves as well.
“The choices you make, that is ultimately on you as an individual, so I can’t blame the system or the clubs. Even the League, to a certain extent, we can’t blame them and say they must have a policy in place [that forces players to learn financial management]. I think that needs to come, but the League is also going to say ‘You guys as players, what are you going to sacrifice?’.
“For former players, it’s difficult now. We’ve played, we’ve made our money, and we have to move on and find other ways to generate an income from football. I wasted a lot of money when I was playing. If I could go back I would do a lot of things differently, but I have to deal with what I have now.
“But the current players and the money they earn, they need to look after that and plan for the future. I see a lot of them doing great things, becoming doctors, becoming lawyers, and that’s where it starts … educate yourself to deal with life after your playing days.”