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SPORT AS A PROFESSIONAL CAREER: WHAT ARE THE LONGER PERSPECTIVES?

Have you ever wondered what will happen to a sportsman or woman after he or she stops taking an active role in sporting activities or perhaps retires or when his or her contract gets terminated? Does sport really have long term goals?

To start with, sports includes any activity that uses physical ability or skills competitively under a set of guidelines. Tennis, Golf, Cricket, Athletics, Football, Basketball, Volleyball, Chess and many more all make up the long list of sporting activities. The interesting fact about most sporting activities is that they are lucrative jobs and hence very high pay. Ikechukwu Ezenwa, a goalkeeper playing in the Nigeria Professional Football League earns about six hundred thousand naira monthly. An average NBA player in the USA earns an average of three million dollars per annum and this is not a restriction to the numerous endorsement deals they get from top companies which serves as an additional benefit to their career. All of these attributes to a sportsman’s net worth but the real question here is how can a sportsman survive after retiring?

One good feat of a sportsman or woman is the acquisition of tricks, moves and tactical experiences needed in the particular kind of sport they do overtime. This places them in a decent position to coach a sports team or club even after they stop taking active roles in such sport. Just like in the movie industry where a popular actor or actress has a greater chance of becoming a movie director, so does it happen in sports. Most coaches ranging from an athlete coach to a football coach were former sportsmen or women in their respective fields. It is important to note that a coach is required at every level of sports and there exist a wide range of coaches from high school coaches to professional coaches. The latter position requires little academic prowess and a lot of sports experience. Believe me, if you have a football team and you want to hire a coach, you will prefer Nwankwo Kanu (a respected football player of the Nigerian Super Eagles football team) over a fresh graduate of Human Kinetics and Health Education. Nwankwo Kanu won the 1996 Olympic Gold Medal and the UEFA Champions League and hence he knows what football entails. More examples can be seen in Late Stephen Keshi of Nigeria, Zinedine Zidane of Real Madrid, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer of Manchester United, Emmanuel Amuneke of Nigeria, Nigerian professional footballer Asisat Oshoala, British professional boxer Anthony Joshua, American professional tennis player Serena Williams, Chelsea Ladies and England footballer Eniola Aluko, Martina Hingis, and Bill Russell of Celtics in the NBA.

Also, another opportunity that could materialize after retiring is taking up an executive post in a sports organization. Many football teams now have their former players in their executive seats. The players have been there before; they know how things are done. There is no big deal appointing them as an executive member. In June 2019, Petr Cech, a goalkeeper upon his retirement was appointed as the technical and performance advisor of Chelsea FC in England. A former sportsman or woman can be a minister of sports in his/her country. They can be a manager in which he/she manages athletes and even coaches. Some become ambassadors of the sports organization they work. They negotiate contracts with people working under a sports organization. Manager and executives earn averagely $180,000 in a year.

Oh! There is an opportunity for a sportsman or woman to get involved in sports journalism. Sports journalism includes sports announcer or commentator, sports radio show host, sportswriter and television sports director. Most TV presenters on sports channels are former sportsmen and women. On the Nigerian Television Authority sports channel, you encounter many ex-footballers, ex boxers, and ex-athletes. Funny, they did not study journalism in universities.  Sports announcers discuss necessary aspects of a game either on TV or radio. They interview players, coaches and even presidents of a team. Popular sportsmen and women that turned out to be a sports journalist have worked at the Olympics, World Cups, NBA, NFL, and NPFL. Some worked for companies like ESPN, CBC, FOX, and NBC. Examples are Mark Jackson of Clippers, Mary Carillo in tennis, Clare Balding, Phil Rizzuto of the Yankees, and a retired sports commentator, also an Olympic gold medalist, Dick Button.

Lastly, on our list of the opportunities, a sportsman can embark on after retirement. This usually works for popular sportsmen and women. During their sports career, they have endorsement deals which they get from companies. Most of them retain their deals. That is why you see retired popular sportsmen and women in advertisements.

On this, I say there are many opportunities in the sports industry that you may pursue. Just pick any opportunity listed above, delve into it, fulfill your passion or goal and also earn cool money😉.

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