PSL and DStv's new programme will teach players business skills
The Premier Soccer League's (PSL's) new player transition programme will see 96 players from DStv Premiership clubs start a six-month course aimed at teaching them finance and business skills.
The programme, in partnership with DStv, the headline sponsor of the Premiership, aims to address the needs of players who retire from a decade-long career in their 30s without skills for life after football, says PSL chair Irvin Khoza.
Khoza said the Gordon Institute of Business Science (Gibs), affiliated to the University of Pretoria, is a curriculum partner in the programme.
“The career path available to soccer players after their playing days has been on the lips and in the hearts and minds of those who love the beautiful game. It particularly emerges when former players hit rough patches in their lives,” Khoza said.
He said he initiated a conversation about the plight of professional players after their careers ended at AFC Ajax's stadium, the Johan Cruyff Arena, six years ago.
“In attendance was Graham Abrahams [director: regulatory affairs and enterprises at SuperSport International], Stanley Matthews [PSL head of competitions and SuperSport United CEO] and [player intermediary] Ashley Kotzen.
“In the company of the Dutch legend Johan Neeskens we later consulted [MultiChoice CEO] Calvo Mawela and [chair] Imtiaz Patel.”
Khoza said young, aspiring footballers often did not concentrate fully on schooling, often becoming a “star at 23, veteran at 28 and put off the field at 30".
MultiChoice's group executive for corporate affairs, Collen Dlamini, said the company's sponsorship of the DStv Diski Challenge reserve league already included “skills and educational programmes”.
“The player transition programme will equip players with the necessary knowledge and skills to be successful,” Dlamini said. “There will be four core modules players will be exposed to — IT, business fundamentals, financial management and leadership. They will also be able to select two elective modules before the end of the programme, from among many Gibs provides.
“The first cohort from January 19 until the end of June will comprise 96 current players — six chosen from each club. The programme is aimed at players between 28 and 35.
“The classes will be virtual and the players will also receive mentoring.”