5 Rebels the Li­ons will have to keep an eye on Foot­ballers need to in­vest wisely for to­mor­row, says Makaab

Pretoria News - - SPORT - JACQUES VAN DER WESTHUYZEN jacques.vd­west­[email protected]

THE Rebels are rid­ing high after their win against the High­landers last week and pose a big threat to the trav­el­ling Li­ons. Here rugby writer Jacques van der Westhuyzen looks at the five Rebels play­ers who the Li­ons will have to keep a close eye on in their round six Su­per Rugby match in Melbourne on Satur­day

Bill Meakes

The 29-year-old in­side cen­tre has a wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence, hav­ing also played for the Western Force and Glouces­ter and will have some good mem­o­ries of play­ing against the Li­ons. He scored one of his team’s five tries in last year’s 36-33 thriller at El­lis Park and will be keen to avenge that de­feat. A strong run­ner with good dis­tri­bu­tion skills, he will look to make the most of a Li­ons mid­field that has yet to set­tle, or fire, in 2020.

Marika Koroi­bete

The for­mer rugby league star, and Fiji and Aus­tralia in­ter­na­tional was named Aus­tralia’s best player in 2019. Whether in mid­field or on the wing, the pow­er­house 27-year-old is a dan­ger­ous run­ner in the wide chan­nels and he will ask lots of ques­tions of a brit­tle and un­set­tled Li­ons de­fence. He, too, scored a try at El­lis Park last year and will be full of con­fi­dence tak­ing on the Li­ons out­side backs.

Matt To’omua

The skil­ful and ex­pe­ri­enced fly­half has been around for some time (hav­ing pre­vi­ously played for sev­eral sea­sons for the Brumbies and Le­ices­ter Tigers) and is the heart­beat of his team’s back di­vi­sion. With 47 Wal­laby caps in the bag there isn’t much the 30-year-old hasn’t ex­pe­ri­enced. A smart player who varies his game well, he will look to at­tack the Li­ons’ No 10 and 12 and will need to be kept in check.

Isi Nais­arani

The for­mer Brumbies and Western Force No 8 is a ris­ing star in Aus­tralian rugby and is sure to add to the four Wal­laby caps he earned last year. Big and strong from the back of the pack, the 25-year-old is a dan­ger­ous player in space and is not eas­ily brought to ground. Nais­arani is also a big li­ne­out weapon for the Rebels so he is a player the Li­ons will have to watch closely over the 80 min­utes this week­end.

Jor­dan Ue­lese

At 23 and stand­ing 1.89m tall and tip­ping the scales at 116kg, Ue­lese has a bright fu­ture ahead of him, hav­ing al­ready run out for the Wal­la­bies on four oc­ca­sions. In­jury has set him back, but he is now fit again and ready to show the kind of form that made him one of the best Un­der-20 play­ers in the world in 2016-17.

TOP soc­cer agent Mike Makaab said he will use the World Foot­ball Sum­mit Africa plat­form to in­stil wise busi­ness in­vest­ments for play­ers to po­ten­tially ex­plore after their play­ing days.

Makaab,who runs ProSport In­ter­na­tional and is considered the lead­ing agent in Africa, said play­ers need to in­vest wisely for to­mor­row, have pro­fes­sional guid­ance and pru­dent fi­nan­cial plan­ning in prepa­ra­tion for life after foot­ball.

He said noth­ing beats fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tion, which pro­vides cal­cu­lated and struc­tured in­vest­ment for all foot­ballers espe­cially those in Africa.

WFS Africa spoke to him.

How im­por­tant is it for play­ers to have a good man­age­ment team?

“I hon­estly be­lieve it is cru­cial for all play­ers to be of­fered a holis­tic man­age­ment ser­vice, with their man­age­ment team tak­ing care of all the off-the­field is­sues (tax, in­vest­ments, fi­nance, spon­sor­ships, PR, etc.), pro­vid­ing proper ca­reer guid­ance and en­sur­ing a smooth tran­si­tion for play­ers, from their play­ing days to ‘life after sport’.”

Play­ers, mostly in Africa re­vert to liv­ing from hand to mouth soon after their play­ing days; what is the prob­lem and how can this be solved?

“In many in­stances, play­ers don’t earn enough dur­ing their ca­reers to be able to ‘re­tire’ after foot­ball. With oth­ers, it is poor fi­nan­cial plan­ning dur­ing their play­ing days and ‘un­wise’ in­vest­ments after their ca­reer. The prob­lem can only be solved if the play­ers them­selves are se­ri­ous about their ‘life after sport’ and sur­round them­selves with wise and sin­cere peo­ple, who can steer them in the right di­rec­tion. Sadly, more of­ten than not, this sel­dom hap­pens.”

How do you in­tend to use plat­forms like WFS Africa, to har­monise and max­imise get­ting a grant from ei­ther Caf or Fifa to help ex-play­ers’ causes?

“I think it’s much more than purely look­ing at a grant. In my opin­ion, it’s more im­por­tant to ed­u­cate play­ers at a young age about the im­por­tance of pru­dent ca­reer plan­ning, so that when they do re­tire they al­ready have a plan in place for post-re­tire­ment, whether it be to stay in foot­ball in some ca­pac­ity or to look at op­tions out­side of the foot­ball in­dus­try. Ed­u­ca­tion is the most pow­er­ful tool you can give to any­one.”

What mes­sage will you de­liver to the in­ter­na­tional au­di­ence at the WFS Africa?

“It is my sin­cere wish that the rest of the world sees the mas­sive po­ten­tial in cal­cu­lated and struc­tured in­vest­ment in foot­ball in Africa. This con­ti­nent has and will con­tinue to pro­duce world-class foot­ballers. Most im­por­tantly, that in­vest­ment should have an ele­ment of up­lift­ing com­mu­ni­ties through projects of true em­pow­er­ment. We all need to make a dif­fer­ence be­fore we leave this world.”

Sum­marise foot­ball in one sen­tence.

“Foot­ball is the most beau­ti­ful game in the world and can only be spoilt by those who have self­ish agendas.”

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