They get money, have cars and can afford any brand of clothing. They go to malls, take selfies with their fans and they don't have to worry about sitting in an office from 9 to 5. It seems like it's the perfect life.
But Mamelodi Sundowns youngster Thendo Mukumela is taking a route most footballers don't take by registering to study at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) this year.
Mukumela, who was promoted to the Sundowns first team at the start of the current season, will do biokinetics at TUT. He is following in the footsteps of his teammate Percy Tau, who is studying business management.
“I was raised by two very strict parents. They used to tell me that school is very important. Even though I like soccer, they told me I should have something to fall back on when I retire. I took a gap year last year after completing my matric in 2016. So this year I am ready to go back to school to study further so that I can have a better future,” Mukumela tells KickOff.com.
“My first choice is biokinetics and my second was sports managements. My classes will start soon, so I need to get my timetable and my student card.”
The junior international is confident he can handle the pressure of studying and playing football at the same time. He used to do this in high school while playing in the junior ranks.
“I have done that before. Since 2014 I have been balancing school and soccer. I feel that I can manage it very well. All I need to do is focus on my football in the morning and in the afternoon I go to class and then I will be fine. I just have to make sure I study hard and work hard, so that I make myself a better future.
“This is my way of planning for life after football because it’s a short career. I will have to take care of my family one day, so hopefully I pass well and get a job before I even finish my football career.”