Kenya Everton

Kenyan footballers double up as entrepreneurs

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Kenya Everton
Kenyan professional footballers, facing increasingly precarious conditions in the game because of the covid-19 pandemic, are being encouraged to plan for their future and explore setting up their own business.

The Kenya Footballers Welfare Association (KEFWA) is showcasing players already running small businesses, everything from washing cars to producing household detergent. It is also offering players the chance to take relevant courses, and has partnerships with a local university and hub for entrepreneurs.

The average player contract in Kenya is for less than two years, according to recent data collected by FIFPRO, and more than 90 per cent of players earn less than USD 600 per month. Often, pay arrives late. KEFWA campaigns for better conditions for footballers, helping make sure players receive their football salaries on time, and chase up late pay.

Even before covid-19 shut down many businesses, including the national football championship, players were looking ahead at ways to provide them with financial security, according to Jerry Santo, KEFWA general secretary. Almost 22 per cent of players in Kenya have income outside football, according to a KEFWA survey.  

Video credit: KEFWA

Footballers Shami Mwinyi and Oscar Kamana, both active footballers, set up a fashion boutique in Nairobi five years ago. They were inspired to start the business when they were not paid by their clubs for several months.

“We decided to pursue something outside football,” he said. “We began by posting shoes on Facebook and Instagram, and selling them to teammates.”

Mwinyi, 27, said he is pleased he and Kamana did not wait until they had stopped playing to explore a second career. “With the pandemic, and everything that brings, we could have been caught off guard” if we didn’t have this business, he said. “We hope we are an example to other players.”

Photo (top): Everton midfielder Joe Williams takes a free-kick during a friendly match between Kariobangi Sharks and Everton at the Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi in July 2019 Credit: AFP via ANP