Thembinkosi Sekgaphane
Phakaaathi Digital Administrator
2 minute read
29 Mar 2019
2:31 pm

Ex-pros must do their bit, says former FC AK defender

Thembinkosi Sekgaphane

Former FC AK defender Gabriel Mofokeng says retired footballers have a duty to help develop the next generation of players in South Africa.

Gabriel Mofokeng (Photo by Lee Warren /Gallo Images)

Mofokeng is currently employed at Pinnacle College Kyalami, where he is a coach of an under-12 side based in the same area called Northerns FC. Mofokeng has taken up a teaching role, giving private coaching lessons when he is not mentoring the youngsters in the respective teams he is in charge of.

The 37-year-old says former players must let their talent live on in the young players they can mentor and not keep their experience and knowledge for themselves.

“You need to commit yourself to giving back to football, which is something we all love. You have to go around and find information on how you can do that and tell yourself you will do it. I am studying towards my D licence at the moment, I will be done soon,” said Mofokeng.

A lack of game time and ill-treatment from the club led to Mofokeng’s retirement, something he says he wasn’t fully prepared for when it happened.

The former Ajax Amsterdam youth player urged retired players to consider taking any opportunity that comes their way and to also start projects that can uplift the community.

Mofokeng suggests that the development of players should be left in the hands of retired footballers and has called for football teams in South Africa to recruit young players set to play in their development structures from schools and build a network that can see a player go from schools football to playing for one of the big clubs in the country.

“I just decided to quit because of a lack of game time and not getting paid for four months … it was stressful and I told myself I would rather focus on doing something else, so I started low and planned and worked my way up. Ex-players should do that as well, work with a school in your area and make those steps to getting information. The training of young players to be ready for the big league and to see them starting at school to academies and through to top flight would create jobs for a lot of ex-professionals.”

The 37-year-old says moving from one team to the next shouldn’t be influenced by money at times, but the prospect of getting game time.

“I was at Ajax Amsterdam for plus minus five years, but I couldn’t break into the first team, so I went to Belgium, I did well but the team couldn’t compete with the package I was getting from Ajax so I didn’t sign with them.

“I went to Norway and it didn’t work out. So I said, why stay here and not play? Can I go back home and play? So I came back and signed for Swallows,” explained Mofokeng.

Mofokeng says he enjoys playing football socially with other retired footballers and enjoys the company of his friends and family whenever he is not coaching.


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