NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya does not have structures to aid sports
persons to transition to post-active sports life upon retirement
and players who exit the scene are often left to their devices
since they lack life skills to manage their newly-acquired
That is the view of Douglas Wakiihuri, Former
world marathon champion, who told Xinhua during an interview on
Wednesday that he always advises upcoming athletes that the
podium is the highlight of their careers, but they should
prepare for a lonely life once the limelight ends.
"They are champions and have achieved a dream that everybody
desires and therefore the society looks up to them and expect a
lot from them because of what they have achieved and forgets
that they are people like every other normal person," said
Wakiihuri, the 1987 world marathon champion.
However, the Kenya Harlequins Rugby Club has a unique program
where they prepare players for life after retirement so that
they avoid the pitfalls that others have gone through.
Richard Njoba, former Kenyan rugby international who is also
an official at Harlequins, said when athletes retire and opt not
to use their knowledge in bettering sports, the industry loses
the experience that has been accumulated over many years.
"Clubs and sports federations must now start about life after
retirement for their players.
"At Harlequins, we have taken the initiative to prepare young
players for life after sports," Njoba remarked.
"During my heyday, players were very dedicated to their clubs
where they would play until retirement, unlike nowadays where
they move freely around the clubs," he noted.
He said at Harlequins, players that come from outside Nairobi
are provided with a house and receive a stipend for attending
"When you house and pay the players, you capture their hearts
and they will be loyal to the club, which is involved in their
"To us, this is the first step in preparing them for life
after rugby," he said.
After the players are past their peak, they are relegated to
the second team or dropped out altogether.
"If this happens and you don’t have a solid foundation
whether by way of an education, a job, savings, or business,
life after sports will be cold and lonely.
"In one way, we are starting to address the future of these
young people," the former star said.