Sibongiseni Gumbi
Football Writer
2 minute read
17 Apr 2020
4:38 pm

Covid-19 break could lead players to alcohol abuse, claims ex-Chiefs striker

Sibongiseni Gumbi

Alcohol abuse by players in South Africa has long been a problem and the cause of failure for many. 

David Zulu (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)

Former Kaizer Chiefs striker David Zulu has decried the suspension of football activity due to the outbreak of corona virus, saying the game is a coping mechanism for some players and this break might break them.

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Zulu, who also played for Chippa United and Maritzburg United, said being at training with other players, talking and joking around helped them to forget about their problems for  while. So, this long break where everyone has been forced into isolation could trigger some of the players into doing the wrong things to try to cope.

Alcohol abuse by players in South Africa has long been a problem and the cause of failure for many.

“To us as players, playing football is like an injection that helps you cope even when you have been discarded by a certain club. When you are on the field, you forget everything,” said Zulu, as quoted by Isolezwe earlier this week.

“Training on your own helps with fitness but it doesn’t measure up to being with other players, talking and sharing jokes while training. With this break, everything that has happened plays in your mind again. You end up thinking about what you should have done in a certain situation and that breaks your spirits. That’s why some then turn to the bottle,” said Zulu who is currently on the books of ABC Motsepe League side, Baberwa FC.

He said he now understands why players never want to retire from the game.

“People believe players play into their old ages because they are chasing money but that’s not entirely true. Football heals the soul. As a footballer you are either praised or criticised wherever you go, and mostly it is criticism. You need an escape from it and being on the field makes you forget everything else and focus on playing,” he said.

The 33-year-old said he still harboured a wish to play in the top flight before thinking of hanging up his boots.

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