Some up and coming football players move distantly parallel to formal education studies–they don’t concentrate on their studies.
To them, becoming a professional player is not dependent on degrees you pursue in academic circles, but 19 year-old Blessings Phiri, one of the players at Sure Stream Academy and itching to pursue either chemical or civil engineering at the Polytechnic, constituent college of the Malawi University (Unima), believes education is the great engine for personal development while football is a short career.
He did not only come to Blantyre to shape and nurture his talent at the temporary-closed Chilomoni Township based football academy but also to achieve academic excellence.
The academy was mainly established to develop football from the grassroots level and provide football education as well as health related lesson vital to the sport.
Surestream provided scholarships to young talent to pursue formal educational studies.
At least five players were given scholarships to pursue studies at Matindi Private Academy in Blantyre.
As such, Blessings, born on January 1 1996 , scored 13 points during 2015 Malawi Schools Certificate Education (MSCE) examination at Matindi Private Academy.
“I am pretty aware that football is a short career and not well paying as opposed to other countries, especially Europe where players earn a lot,” says Blessings, who was picked from Mzuzu when the Academy conducted national scouting exercise some three years ago.
He was also recognized and awarded for being the most disciplined student at Matindi.
To him, football is not a barrier to furthering studies. Most average super league players and former footballers, who are just loafing or in destitute, did not have interest in studies and did not have the strength mind to ably manage their earnings.
“We have models and good examples who balanced well their studies and football escapades. I hear of Hannock Ng’oma, Philip Madinga, former chief justice Richard Banda, Peterkins Kayira and Kinnah Phiri were great players, but they did not allow the fame to elude them of their educational studies.
“I can also point at Peter Pindani, Panganeni Ndovie, Walter Nyamilandu, Chiza Nyirongo as people who really demonstrated that football and education studies can go together, provided you balance them well,” says Blessings, currently waiting both for the re-opening of the Academy and University entrance.
“My model is Walter Nyamilandu. He played for one of the biggest clubs in the country, but that did not stop him from aiming high in terms of educational studies and excellence in the corporate.
“Both football and education are very involving and but it requires discipline, concentration and time management.
“It also took the support of people from Surestream panel, teachers and fellow students whom were a motivation to me. Determination and hard work also contributed to this success,” explains Blessings, who also admires Moyale Barracks’ midfielder Crispin Fukizi and Bayern Munich’s Thiago Alcantara.
However, Willy Yabwanya Phiri, owner of Karonga United and also vying for Football Association of Malawi (FAM) Presidency, while pating the young lad on the back, described football career as short due to injuries and most former players live miserable due to lack of support and opportunities.
He said it was high time FAM rolled out bursaries and scholarships because players deserve academic careers.
“Those are the boys we need to nurture and support through scholarships. We to have education programmes for players across the country,” said Phiri.
FAM Chief Executive Officer Suzyo Nyirenda recently urged young footballers to complete their education, highlighting that football career is always short.
According to him, it is the duty of the clubs to ensure that their players complete education.
“If FAM had its national players, I could have done all what it takes so that they get first degrees. Unfortunately, these players are owned by clubs. It is always good to see players holding senior positions in companies. They should not only rely on football because it is short-lived,” Nyirenda, who also admires FAM President Walter Nyamilandu, told a local radio.
Nyamilandu, assistant General Manager at Illovo Sugar Malawi Limited, notably played for University of Malawi, Sucoma FC and Be Forward Wanderers and also featured for the national team, the Flames before he hanged the boots.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :