Education more important than playing football: Drogba

WINDHOEK; Ivory Coast and Chelsea Football Club striker Didier Drogba says it is more important for young footballers to get an education than to focus on football alone.

Drogba said this while addressing members of the media and fans upon his arrival here on Monday.

The striker, who signed a multi-million dollar two-year advertising campaign contract with Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL), is in the country to promote the company’s Windhoek Lager brand, for which he has been featuring on billboards and in television commercials for some time now.

The campaign celebrates the story of a beer from Africa which has grown to be celebrated and loved worldwide, drawing comparisons to the football player, who has followed a similar journey.

Drogba said he started his professional football career at the age of 21, and he would advise young Namibia footballers to focus more on their studies instead of pursuing professional football contracts.

“Going to school is more important than playing football. In football you only have a short career but life continues after football. If one breaks your leg you will need something to fall back on or even if you sign a contract, you will need an education to represent yourself or understand what is written in that contract,” he said.

When a local journalist asked Drogba why footballers from Central Africa are more successful in Europe than southern Africa, the striker said it’s all about commitment and hard work.

“In southern Africa people look forward to playing in the South African league, but in Central Africa people want to be in France or England because our leagues in Central Africa and West Africa are not as strong as the South African league.

The connection between Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Europe is very good. Players are sent to leagues in Europe at an early age,” he stated.

He also joked that maybe Central African players are more successful because they fly a shorter distance to Europe than southern Africa players, who spend hours in a plane and arrive in Europe tired.

A tour of the city of Windhoek was planned for Drogba on Monday, during which he would be taken to the cathedral of Namibian football, the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Katutura, to meet his fans.

He was also set to tour Namibia Breweries before he would fly to his motherland, the Ivory Coast.