In as much as many African talented footballers couldn’t make it to their dream of becoming professional with their football careers due to the disorganized system we live in, we all can still agree to the fact that many footballers should be responsible for their career failures, because of their behavioral issues. As a footballer reading this right now, you know this fact, I know it, and the people who want to help us all also know it.
So my point here is that, while we cry out, prepare, and expect someone to come and invest their hard-earned monies into our career to ensure that we become successful, I think this should be a good time we also begin to look within – where most of the work is, and make sure we are truly ready for the opportunities we are calling for.
I always take inspiration from Asamoah Gyan, and a few others when it comes to player discipline. A player who can be Physically, Psychologically, and Tactically discipline will always have an upper hand in seeing the light from this deep darkness of our football world. Some footballers, living in their club houses today find it difficult to go out and train with their team, but Gyan, in his underground years as a footballer jogged crossing about ten communities just to train in the next. When he is on the field of play, we all know his determination to score and also help his team to victory was something every football follower admired. And most importantly, one good example of inspiration we can all take from the career of Gyan is when his missed that crucial penalty kick which could have led Ghana to the Semifinals of the world cup – the shame, the insults and the psychological torture. How he came back to strong again to play at his topmost potential was indeed an inspiration. And it takes a high level of discipline to be able to win such a battle. Consider the following as a guide to your career in football.
PHYSICAL DESCIPLINE: You need to understand that you have a job as a footballer, and your most reliable tool to work this job is your body, and you must take very good care of it. You must be willing to put in the work to get in shape and prepared for the huge task that is ahead of you. You have to respect the instructions of your coach as he/she aims at putting you in shape. And most importantly, you should be mindful about what you take in your body; try to stay away from excess alcohol sex.
It is only in Africa where players who aspire to become professional footballers see constant practice and intensive training programs as a kind of punishment, and mostly try to avoid it, yet want to be seen selected as the best by potential helpers. Trust me, it is never like that on the other side of the world where you dream of taking your careers to. People like Asamoah Gyan, Yaya Toure, Okocha, Essien, just to mention few players leveraged physical advantage to climb the lather of football success – they constantly trained hard and followed every instruction from their trainers, and also put in lots of work individually, off and on the field of play. We can all attest to how far they went with their careers.
PSYCOLOGICAL DESCIPLINE: Mindset is everything – if you’ve properly tuned your mind and prepared it towards success in your football career, you will be able to pass every test that you face in this football journey. People are watching you – off and on the field of play, they are studying your behavior, the kind of mindset that you have aside from your talent. No one wants to invest in a bad business, so if you are that kind of player who can’t control his temper, insults colleague players, and shows bad attitude to trainers and spectators, have in mind that you are being monitored. One day, all you might need is maybe just a word of recommendation from someone, and this person might happen to be one of the people you’ve shown your ugly attitude to, then you should count yourself out and have yourself to blame.
TACTICAL DISCIPLINE: every coach wants to see his/her players demonstrate what they’ve practiced as a team from the training ground to the field of play in match situations. Don’t be that kind of a player who thinks of himself as “the best and already made”, and decides to play according to your own ideologies on the field instead of the team’s which the manager is looking forward to. Let your colleague players, your coach, and the many people who have set eyes on you get to believe that you are a team player regardless of your high level of talent, and you are always ready to learn and adjust to the philosophy of any club you find yourself working with.
Trust me, it is difficult to find good people in the world today, but there are a few who really want to help footballers to make their dreams come true, but what pushes them back is the behavior of players of today. And on many occasions, the most popular word when it comes to this topic is ” indiscipline”.
If you can work on the above aspects of football and player discipline, you will stand out, and you will not only be admired by your coach and teammates, you will catch the heart of your entire team, and most importantly, you will win the hearts of countless people you know nothing about, and that will be when the magic of your football career begins.
Story By: Sadique Walker CEO Africa Footballers Connect