Booze ends careers of soccerites

SOCCER LEGEND: Doctor Khumalo
SOCCER LEGEND: Doctor Khumalo

APART from footballers occasionally venturing into music, there really is not that much in common between them and musicians. They have tattoos and hordes of groupies.

It is well documented that "ballers" have been known to experiment with the microphone as a way of expressing their "artistic self". England and Liverpool legend John Barnes was one, if not the first, footballer to try his luck at rocking the mic.

Bafana Bafana and Kaizer Chiefs legend Doctor Khumalo also dazzled us with his rapping skills when he made his music debut in 1995 with radio personality Bob Mabena on the song Get Funky .

Khumalo mesmerised his legions of fans with such unforgettable and immortal lines as get, get, get, get funky, funky, funky groovy groovy, yippe yippe yoh!

Then recently, enfant terrible Jabu Pule and Steve Lekoelea also tried their hand at music, without much success. But that is where the connection ends.

In the 90s when gangster rap was flourishing, one observer noted: "These guys have all the money in the world and they've got fine women too. Why the hell are they so mad?" This was after two of rap stars died in gun fire.

The same question could be asked about most South African footballers. Only they are dumb instead of angry. Lack of discipline, a total disregard for their careers and plain stupidity has seen many a career going down the drain.

Pule, once admired even by rival teams' supporters, literally drank his career away. Time and again stories, and in some cases pictures of his drunken binges, appeared in both the tabloids and the internet. Advice from his then boss Kaizer Motaung and many others didn't seem to have any effect on the man clearly on the road to self-destruction.

Others, such as Junior Khanye and Thabiso Malatsi - strangely from Pule's neighbourhood of Daveyton - also followed suit and apart from the dyed hair, have only one thing in common to show: shattered dreams, thanks to the giggle waters.

Recently, another former Kaizer Chiefs player Jeffrey Ntuka was murdered after allegedly getting into a heated argument with tavern patrons. While his death still hurts many who followed his career and know that his death cut short what was a promising career, one question that many people have been asking is "what was he doing at a tavern?"

Going to such a place, they argue, left him vulnerable to jealous individuals and thus put his life at risk.

It is for that reason that people say club bosses should do more than they are currently doing to help these players. The likes of Irvin Khoza and Motaung should be held responsible for things they have absolutely no control over.

Questions about why Motaung and Khoza do not do "something" for the players are laughable. What else can they say or do when players simply refuse to listen? When Pule was at Chiefs and on the one way road to self-destruction, he was given many a chance by the club but he never listened. He was hardly a "young" man. He was already a family man.

Steve Lekoelea insisted on leaving Pirates when the carrot in the form of money was dangled in front of him by Maritzburg United. This he did against the advice of current Pirates assistant coach Tebogo Moloi. Yet some people have the gall to suggest that club bosses have shut "these boys" out.

If you grew up in a four-roomed house and made a decent living out of playing football, why would you mess it up with booze? Musicians can drink all they want, unfortunately for footballers that is not the case. Their bodies simply won't allow it and it's on them to take care of their bodies.

Just a thought!

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