Our footballers just spend a paltry 90 minutes before the glaring eyes of expectant spectators and anticipating journalists. This is the period of time that they ‘serve’ us to a sumptuous dish of the sport we all so dearly love; football.
Now that is just the mere part of it, what really happens to this bunch of athletes when they are out of the pitch? Ever thought of that? No! Well, I thought so.
There’s surely got to be more to life than just kicking a football and chasing it up and down the pitch for 90 or so minutes. Now that brings me to the main core, what really happens to our dear footballers beyond the pitch?
For starters, let’s take a quick glimpse at the life of a professional footballer plying their trade in Europe. These folks are so particular about details; details like timekeeping, what they consume, and their lifestyle trends and so on and so forth.
But the question is when our players are outside the pitch and not involved with their clubs. How do they conduct themselves?
It is common fodder to bump into our players spending a whole night at a disco party, even on the eve of a football game. This surely shouldn’t come as any surprise to all and sundry as word of players escaping from camp has always come to the fore time and again.
Prominent to that is a one Mike Sserumagga who some years back was disbanded from the Cranes camp for failure to tame his social instincts having ‘escaped’ from camp for a night out with his pals.
And how about the eating habits of our players? I’ll love to cite a certain, Diego Forlan’s eating traits. During the peak of his playing career while at Atletico Madrid, he declared he had a timetable for his meals. Pinch yourself, rub your eyes and let that sink in. He had his meals programmed, meaning anything out of schedule would not be consumed by him at any costs.
He further declared how he kicked off his day with a desert of pineapples and reason being that pineapples help the muscle tissues recover at a remarkable speed from wear and tear thus limiting on the occurrence of hamstring injuries. Which as you may know, are common in the game today due to the high intensity and pace and which the games are played at lately.
Of course I’m not advocating for programmed meals for our players at this point in time seeing that it’s a farfetched dream at the moment but I find it a distant cry that many of our players call it a day on a plate of chapatti-gravy [read kikomando].
Yet these are the same bunch of lads expected to put in a shift for their respective clubs and eventually maybe get selected for National Team duty.
It’s really absurd that the circumstances are the way they are but it goes to show how near yet how far we are from the holy grail that is achieving professionalism in the StarTimes Uganda Premier League.
There’s a lot at stake as regards achieving that much-cherished professionalism in our local league and this should involve a collective effort from all stakeholders.
The football clubs, the federation, the organizing committees and most importantly how these players conduct themselves both on and off the pitch. Failure to do so, we’ll keep counting the ‘would have beens’ but with nothing to show for it.