Championing financial wisdom: CAF boss's call to to African stars

CAF President Patrice Motsepe is leading a charge to revolutionize football finances in Africa and ensure fair compensation for players, aiming to stem the tide of talent leaving for greener pastures in Europe and Asia. 


Under his stewardship, CAF's financial health has seen a marked improvement, buoyed by enhanced sponsorship agreements and strategic partnerships. Concurrently, existing inter-club competitions are undergoing reforms to enhance their appeal and profitability.

Last year saw the launch of the African Super League, promising substantial prize money surpassing that of Africa's current Champions League. Notably, Cote d’Ivoire secured $7 million for clinching the recent AFCON title, reflecting a 40% increase in prize money, while Ghana earned $700,000 despite an early exit.

Motsepe, a South African billionaire and founder of Mamelodi Sundowns, is deeply concerned about the financial well-being of African players post-retirement. He stresses the importance of prudent financial management, drawing from his experience overseeing Sundowns. 

His recent remarks in Angola about the prevalence of lavish spending among players during their careers, often at the expense of long-term financial security, highlight the urgent need for sports stars to be money-wise in managing their finances and investments at the peak of their careers.

His own experiences, particularly with Mamelodi Sundowns, have illuminated the precarious financial paths many athletes tread. Lavish lifestyles, characterised by luxury cars, extravagant homes, and opulent indulgences, often overshadow prudent financial planning. 

While the allure of wealth during active careers is undeniable, the stark reality of post-retirement struggles looms ominously for those who fail to invest wisely.

“When I was president of Mamelodi Sundowns, I went to see the players train and I would see very expensive Mercedes, BMWs, even Ferraris,” said Motsepe at a recent press conference in Angola.

“It is fine to buy these wonderful things as long as you (also) take your money and invest it in the days when you don’t play," he said.

Tragic tales of once high-earning athletes facing financial ruin post-retirement serve as cautionary tales. From living in the fast lane to grappling with financial insecurity, the transition from sports stardom to financial stability remains a daunting challenge for many African athletes. 

Despite earning staggering salaries, mismanagement and overspending have left some former stars destitute, highlighting the imperative for financial prudence.
Sadly, some notable Ghanaian stars, lived in the fast lane – literally – at the peak of their careers but later fell on hard times after retirement.

The CAF president put on the front burner a matter of importance and the need for clubs and other sports bodies to guide and counsel athletes on lifestyle choices, particularly investment advice and management.

Today's elite athletes, such as Ghana's Thomas Partey, reportedly earn £200,000 a week before tax at English Premiership side Arsenal. It would sound unthinkable that such a rich athlete could one day fall on hard times. 

However, such is the reality of some some elite atletes in retirement.

ack in the day, boxing icon Azumah Nelson drove a limousine on the streets of Accra, but on retirement he sold the vehicle and managed his transition, even though some of his business ventures failed along the line.

Football star Asamoah Gyan bought a luxury hilltop mansion overlooking the Weija and his compound is littered with expensive vehicles including a Rolls Royce Phantom. 

In addition, the retired Black Stars icon invested in some business ventures as well as ventured into boxing promotion, as well as contemplated starting an airline business, BabyJet Airlines.

At the peak of his career, former world champion Ike Quartey contemplated healthcare business and started a property meant for a hospital at Gbawe. Many years after retirement the project has been put on hold due to lack of finance to complete, with Quartey hinting at looking for partners to help complete his dream project.

Former Black Stars Derek Boateng's foray into the hospitality business with the establishment of Mendiata Hotel at Achimota, while players like Abedi Pele (Nania FC), Nii Odartey Lamptey (Glow Lamp Soccer Academy) and Kwadwo Asamoah (Juventus Academy Ghana) invested back into football with the establishment of football teams and an academy where young talents were nurtured.

Others like Samuel Osei Kuffour and Anthony Yeboah stand as testaments of successful ventures into the real estate business, but not the same for former Black Stars captain Stephen Appiah who launched his clothing line StepApp in 2008 at the twilight of his career but the venture did not fly as expected and died a few years on.


In response to these challenges, the role of clubs and sports bodies in guiding athletes toward financial literacy and responsible investment practices cannot be overstated. 

The Professional Footballers Association of Ghana (PFAG) has taken proactive steps through its Life-After-Football program, offering support and guidance to retired players seeking alternative career pathways. 

Collaborations with institutions like the famous Johan Cruyff Institute in Spain and local universities in Ghana provide valuable resources for players transitioning beyond the pitch.

The Graphic Business understands that PFAG is in talks with some insurance companies, including SIC Insurance, to revive a pension scheme designed for their members (home-based and foreign-based) who sign up and make monthly contributions which they can fall on from age 40, the average retirement age of footballers.


However, the establishment of institutionalised support systems within sports organizations, particularly football clubs, is paramount in fostering a culture of financial prudence among athletes. 

Collaborations with investment firms, professional advisors, and insurance companies can offer tailored solutions to empower athletes to make informed financial decisions. 

By equipping athletes with the necessary tools and knowledge, clubs can mitigate the risks of financial mismanagement and ensure a more secure future for their players.

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