‘There Seems A Mystery Around Football Money’ – Ex-Footballer, Olu Mighty

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Football, by its very nature, is fleeting and short-lived. Hence it is advisable that those employed to play football must often find another avenue of income, whether to enhance their riches or to provide security beyond their retirement. Footballers must understand that there is life after football, why they must invest while earning such high salaries playing professional football abroad.
Such is the story shared by Oyeniyi Olanrewaju Olumide popularly known as Olu Mighty, former Works Rangers of Akure, Ondo State, Akwa United of Akwa Ibom State who later had professional football expedition in Europe which took him through United Kingdom, Turkey and Canada. Now a prominent a member of Ibadan Allstars team where we have the likes of Dimeji Lawal, Duke Udi, Ike Shorunmu, Dele Adeleye, Muyiwa Lawal a.k.a Kokoro, Gbenga Okunowo, Mutiu Adepoju and hosts of other notable ex-internationals.
He shared his experiences with Olanrewaju Agiri at Liberty Stadium Ibadan after featuring for Ibadan all Stars in an exhibition football match orgnised by David Abraham the coordinator of xplixit dancers where Olu Mighty scored a fantastic goal with a powerful strike from center-half of the field. He spoken on how many of his colleague struggled to make ends meet and what responsible for many football stars go bankrupt soon after active soccer life and efforts of All stars team to alleviate others that are needs.
How did you start your playing career?
My name is Oyeniyi Olanrewaju Olumide popularly known as Olu Mighty. I was born and bred in Ibadan where I started my football career with the likes of Muyiwa Lawal, Idowu Olaosebikan Muller, Dele Adeleye although junior but we played together, Dimeji Lawal who is also senior but we also played along. I also played in Akure for Works Rangers Army Football team, and during my National youths services corps in Akwa Ibom State, I was invited from the Youth Corps camp to play for Akwa United, which was 21 years ago.
How did your professional career start?
An agent facilitated my move to United Kingdom for professional football career but could not tie down any lucrative contract before moving to Canada, and in Canada I first played for Nigerian National Team in Canada, just like every other nations like Brazil, Turkey, Mexico Ghana have a team that played in mock nation’s cup there, so Nigeria also has a team formed, and later I started to play for teams formed by the Italian in Canada and later Toronto FC invited me to come play for them and from there I got my work permit which enable me to participate in the Major League Soccer, (MLS) for Toronto FC because Canada does not have its own football league. Canada is a very good country where equal opportunities are available to all and sundry.
What do you derive from forming and playing for this all stars team?
I am now based in Canada and anytime I come home, I will join other ex-players and colleagues, we played as an all stars team every Tuesday and Thursday at Liberty stadium. We have all stars teams everywhere, in Lagos, Ogun, Kano and almost every state of the federations, where ex-footballers come together to play and keep fit. I do feel happy being in their midst because such gathering provides opportunity to see ourselves and help those that are in need.
And what are the ways you help each other?
We help in any ways deemed necessary, you know is not easy surviving in this harsh condition of the economy we found ourselves in this country, lots who are in need will be taken care of and those with injury or health issues will be assisted. We enjoy the fellowship together.
In what way do you support your colleagues?
Anytime I come home, I try to support my colleagues here who sort for help. And I have established companies such as auto-mart where we sell cars, and a firm where cars are painted and baked, and I have many ex-footballers working with me there, one is Idowu Olaosebikan, popularly known as Muller who is working here as supervisor and earning good salary.
Why do most of our ex-footballers don’t enjoy financial independence soon after active football life?
There seems to be a mystery evil associated with money made from football because if care is not taken, it just disappears the way it came and that is why we see many ex-footballers, after making huge resources from football, become broke not too long after retiring from active football. The fact remains that, before you acquire the money, everyone has gotten to know about the amount that comes to you and keep a watch on you to share from it. Footballers are too much in the public glare and only few footballers recognize this factor.
So because of these factors, one needs to be conscious of life after football and get good counsel that will help with good investment’s strategies and that will ensure fund sustainability after an active football career. I was born into an enterprise family; I came from an enterprising background because my both parents are entrepreneurs, my dad sells cars while my mother is a good businesswoman so this gave me a very good business orientation.
Can you give an insight into what is obtained in the developed world and what needs to be done to guarantee a better life after football?
Wisdom is the principal thing. You must be wise with your football career, especially when you have started earning. You must be wise to turn more of your earning into investment for the future. If they do not, they may suffer at old age. So I went on to invest in other fields of life. It’s not uncommon for many to turn to the world of business. For some, it comes naturally, almost an add-on of their brilliance on the pitch and their inherent marketability. For others, it takes toil and graft, true entrepreneurship, and a shrewd money-making mind.
There is career ending insurance; Players can cover themselves for an injury that ends their career. As with any insurance policy it can appear to be a waste of money until the day you need it and then it is the best thing you’ve done. All players should ensure they are adequately covered. Payments are made free of tax to the player and can help a player to continue a career during life after football.
Ideally players should aim to build up assets to allow them the time to make independent decisions on their future. The funds built up during a playing career provide players with options to explore new career paths and most importantly secure financial security for them and their families once their profession has ended.
So, that’s why so many players find financial hardship after living a life of excess and splendour?
Until football’s governing bodies take greater care to ensure professional players are educated in financial responsibility or they are forced to lock away a certain percentage of their wealth until they retire the bankruptcy statistics are unlikely to change.

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About Wale Fasade 200 Articles
FCT Abuja Bureau Chief 9News Nigeria

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