Throwback Thursday: Ntokozo Sikhakhane
Posted: 19 October 2017 Time: 12:30
On Thursdays, KickOff.com will bring you the stories of retired footballers who are trying to make a living after hanging up their boots.
Some are doing well for themselves, but others are struggling because they did not save money the way they should have. Today we catch up with former Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Ntokozo Sikhakhane.
He's currently a sports coordinator at Crawford College in Durban and is living comfortably, having bought a couple of properties in Yellow Park.
The KwaMashu-born Sikhakhane played for Chiefs, Dynamos, Bloemfontein Celtic, Bidvest Wits and AmaZulu. He retired at the age of 31 in 2014 after he had unsuccessful trials at Mpumalanga Black Aces under veteran coach Clive Barker.
When he returned to Chiefs from a successful loan spell at Dynamos, Sikhakhane made good money and used it well. He studied sports management at the University of Johannesburg and even shared a class with then-Chiefs assistant coach Farouk Khan.
Sikhakhane says it’s difficult for players to think about their education during their playing days because “you feel like a boss” with the money that comes in at the end of each month.
"Life after football is challenging for everyone and what mostly makes it so sad is that football players are always in the limelight," Sikhakhane tells KickOff.com.
"Whatever footballers do people are watching. But you'll find that there's a person who is a doctor and has been fired at work and has no money, but nobody knows. But because football players are always there on Wednesday, Saturday in the newspapers, radio and TV, that’s why they're different to other people.
"One day I took a taxi to town in Durban. People looked at me and said 'he has no car'. But I left the car at home and they didn't know why, so that’s what I'm trying to say.
"If you played for Chiefs the pressure is always there because people think that you'll have money until you die, but they don't understand after your last payment you start to shake. So it is challenging.
"But it is very important what you do with your money. When players have money they don’t even look after their families. They only look at girls, stay in townhouses and they don’t even go back home [to visit]. You only see yourself as a boss."
He continues: "As a player you were earning R100K and then for two months you don’t have that R100k because you don’t have a club. If you had an expensive car the bank doesn't understand that you are looking for a job. They want to repossess the car and if where you are staying is a rent house and you no longer paying they'll chase you [out]. Club owners don't even care at that time.”
The ex-AmaZulu midfielder wants to set up a retirement fund for current players to avoid such a situation. He insists he's not doing it to challenge the South African Players' Union.
"I want to change the lives of South African footballers. This thing of South African footballers struggling [after retirement] should stop.
"That’s why I'm going to Absa because I want to start a retirement fund. They are going to propose that they take 30 percent of players’ salaries every month.
"Players should also take school seriously while they have money. The problem is once you start to have money it's difficult to go to school."