A FIFA match agent and C.E.O Monimichelli Sports facility & Construction limited, Mr. Ebi Egbe, has attributed the increased depression and high rate of suicide cases among ex-football internationals to lack of investment and diversification while in active football.
Egbe, who stated that many footballers around the world fail to understand that there’s a life after their active football years, noted that they create a lifestyle around their income which sometimes becomes very difficult to sustain years after.
In an exclusive interview on Saturday in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa state capital, Egbe said, “Ex-players are getting extremely depressed, some even commit suicide all around the world and not just in Bayelsa State; if nothing is done about it, we will continue to lose more of them in the football industry.
“Even here in Nigeria, the trend has always been like that, most of the young footballers started their playing career from the village and straight to Europe, and because of no much time of exposure, they get too excited living abroad and playing football there and are carried away. Some delay and it becomes late when they want to come back to their home country, no much money to invest.
“The football sector is a fairytale sector if you get ten years playing time just be grateful. The life span as a football player is less than 10 years, so those who are smart diversify into other sectors of football and continue to excel but most don’t realise early.”
He added that “It’s a situation where you earn so much when you are younger and when you get to 30 years and 32 years, you begin to earn less because you are at retirement age. They create a lifestyle around them that makes it very difficult to sustain and later become broke when the reality dawns on them.
“Footballers rarely gets a second chance, the few who gets it today are the ones who ventured into coaching or into sports marketing. There’s no way you can get depressed when you are earning and also invest in other things. This is so common and so many don’t talk about it.”
On whether it is right for countries to start the football games amidst the pandemic scare, Egbe said, “It hasn’t been easy for any sector of the economy in the world, but football has to come back because it’s a money-spinning venture for so many countries. It’s not a bad idea but the crowd has to be controlled, at this early stage it might be a little difficult, but they’ll always find a way out”.
He submitted that the issue of pay cut was strictly between the players and the club, adding that despite the financial challenges by the different clubs, the players can’t be forced to accept