The Citizen (KZN)

Habana looks at life after sport

- Sports reporter

Former Springbok wing Bryan Habana has urged elite athletes in all codes to consider their futures after their careers have ended, promoting education and longterm financial awareness in an attempt to end the poverty of local sporting stars.

Habana, a legend of South African rugby who scored 67 tries in 124 Tests for the Boks, has called on profession­al athletes to consider where their futures lie when they retire. According to statistics, athletes in many codes retire at a much younger age than individual­s in other industries.

The average Premier Soccer League player’s career has been concluded by the age of 28, and according to Sports Illustrate­d, 78% of NFL gridiron players are “bankrupt or under financial stress” within two years of their retirement. According to Rugby Pass: “In the event a player doesn’t play for their country but still manages to save half their net pay over eight years (R800 000 a year), they would run out of money before turning 40”.

In an attempt to combat this level of poverty among former sport stars, Habana’s company (MatchKit) has announced its cross-border partnershi­p with the Global Institute of Sport (GIS) to arm athletes with academic opportunit­ies to up-skill themselves.

“Education was a cornerston­e of my profession­al rugby career,” Habana said yesterday.

“It has the ability to broaden an athlete’s horizons for their life after profession­al sport, and we’re thrilled to be able to provide these unique opportunit­ies for our athletes through our GIS partnershi­p.”

MatchKit athletes will gain access to exclusive thought-leadership content and routes into formal sports education with GIS.

Sharona Friedman, the GIS president, said they were pleased to join forces with MatchKit in an ongoing attempt to deal with this widespread problem.

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