Prepare players for life after football

Prepare players for life after football
Jalal Jasim, defender of football club Geylang International. He is one of the footballers who are affected by the new S-League policy that dictates each club can sign a maximum of five outfield players over the age of 30 in their 22-man S-League squad, while three players have to be aged 25 and under.

SINGAPORE - The S-League's withdrawal of its quota on players aged 30 and above is welcome news ("S-League dumps age rules for players"; last Sunday).

The focus should be on grooming more young football talent. Let the clubs decide how many of the more mature players to retain while they try to recruit youngsters.

The career of a professional footballer is short. Generally, those who love playing the game and make a living out of it will want to play for as long as they can. But in Singapore, perhaps not enough has been done to prepare them for life after football.

Clubs should advise older players on managing their finances, and prepare the ones who show promise for careers in football coaching and management.

Employment opportunities should be created for retired footballers in coaching football or physical education in schools, tertiary institutions, the armed forces and football clubs.

These retired players could even link schoolboy footballers with potential to the S-League clubs.

The players themselves must plan early for life after football. They should develop interests outside of football and invest in the relevant courses even during their playing days.

The harsh fact of life is that we cannot always be earning our living doing jobs we love.

This article was first published on November 30, 2014.
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