Education is a problem in association football, especially in parts of the world where education in general is on the low. Players need some form of education, which will also help in the future after their football career.

An educated player is able to better understand himself, the world and the game.

Football has certainly improved in terms of professionalism, but the future is to understand that well educated and intelligent people will improve the quality of the game. It does not matter if you are a player, a coach or a member of staff. The game will be better if people understand it better.

Receiving some form of education by a football person will improve in diverse ways to support the players or staff. It ranges from learning the laws of the game, learning the proper diet that will improve player performances, resisting from particular foods, and securing an insurance package for the future after football.

It is sad to note that even footballers in the the Ghanaian top-flight league are not registered under any insurance scheme, with the exception of Hearts of Oak who just signed a partnership deal with StarLife.

Not even the nation’s Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has records of players being registered under them, except the few footballers who are fully employed aside the beautiful game.

Players with some form of education can better negotiate for contracts, because they can get a better understanding of terms and conditions that are stipulated to be agreed upon.

Even though agents play the bigger role in contract negotiations, players need to also comprehend whatever that is agreed because some agents try to exploit their clients by agreeing deals that suits the agents more in financial terms.

In order to improve the number of footballers with adequate education to support their careers, juvenile football should blend with school calendar to give sports boys and girls sound mind to learn in school and also take sporting events when the time is due.

Unlike mostly in Ghana here that children stop schooling with the view of pursuing a career in football, mostly because the academic activities clash with games.

The Milo games will serve as the flagship tournament for basic schools to blend their books with boots, moving onto the second cycle institution students will still appreciate the laurels and accolades that they have won whiles playing football through school games.

This can push them to continue to represent their schools as they sign for professional clubs.

Things are so much different in this part of the world that if proper education is not received, players can not do things professionally in the local language they grew up speaking.

In other parts of the world, players speak the nation’s official language at infancy which makes it some form of semi-formal education for them.

Notable names of former players who combined education with football and is currently impacting the game in Ghana is Yussif Chibsah and Hamza Mohammed.

Born in Accra, Chibsah was a member of the Prempeh College (Class of ’96 Gberg House) and is considered a highly educated footballer, majoring in Accounting but he also studied management and economics.

Education has proved to be part of his progress after playing active football, with the establishment of a consultancy as well as management of many other young footballers in the country.

Former Ghana international Hamza Mohammed, who is now head coach for division one league side Tamale City is also enjoying life after football having bagged a degree in football management a couple of years ago.

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Other African players who are enjoying education in addition to their football career is Ivorian Legend Salomon Kalou and Nigerian Midfielder Wilfred Ndidi.

Now in Brazilian Serie A with Botafogo, Kalou took to his official Twitter account to celebrate his remarkable achievement.

“Everything my dad taught me, embraced the knowledge. appreciate it. If you keep your fists closed, nothing can come in. You got what you got, but you can’t get any more. But you wanna see what happens if your hands are open, to that I say Amen. Wherever you at.”

At age 35, Kalou is preparing for life after football as his professional career that started in 2003 with Dutch side Feyenoord winds down.

Leicester City midfielder Wilfred Ndidi is studying business and management at De Montfort University (DMU).

“I was really happy when DMU staff said I could study here. I wanted to do this course because growing up in Nigeria we didn’t really have the opportunity to actually go to school,” Ndidi told the University website.

“It’s a personal thing for me that I want to do, to expand myself and learn new things. Instead of sitting at home after training I come to DMU for my classes.

“The teachers have been amazing, they really try and help me understand. Rather than just reading books they take time to explain things to me and they are also very understanding about my schedule with training.”

Ndidi has already revealed his dream project is to reduce illiteracy in his home country. “Back home so many kids aren’t able to go to school because their parents can’t afford it,” he continued.

“I want to set up a football resort where people can stay and play football while getting an education at the same time. I think it’s really important to try to learn things outside of your normal life.” The midfielder concluded.

Samuel Eto’o has started his University education in order to better manage the upcoming footballers, the player has already been widely known for supporting several players from his home country Cameroon to establish careers in Europe financially.

He is now adding the needed technical skills to help these players. “When you are a footballer, you pay people to take care of yours. But when it is up to you to manage them, and you want to develop them, you need to acquire new skills. So I will go back to school to learn business management. In January, I will join Harvard University, which has kindly admitted me to specialized training.” Eto’o disclosed in an interview.

Both Giorgio Chiellini and Vincent Kompany have Masters Degrees in Business Administration, Kompany’s dissertation looked at how professional football clubs in the Premier League can benefit from home game advantage and achieve game changing levels of improvement.

Chiellini warned the many footballers without a plan for the future after retirement. “There’s also the risk of depression, and there are many former players with financial problems because they have not thought about what they are going to do, they have not opened their minds by studying. You then have the rest of your life in front of you and just being able to play football is not enough.”

By Mohammed Bushran

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