Professional footballers are associated with exquisite lives, fast and luxury cars and riches and some have question why players should be payed hugely just for running and kicking a round inflated object. The clue can be found in their fitness levels, consistency and inputs from childhood to becoming a professional but also their professional footballing calenders look very different from a regular guy’s.
These footballers have unbelievable schedules in the course of 12 months and some go for an entire year without having up to 4 weeks of rest, let me retake that … some professional footballers go for one full year without up to 30 days of rest. Running, shouting, travelling and scoring.
Some are extremely charged that they play about 7 competitions within 12 months, including their domestic competitions, champions league, Europa league, super cups as well as Fifa’s World club championship.
Now let us Narrow things down to some African players. We look at their footballing calender 11 months ago from now.
The case of Sadio Mane and Mo Salah whose season was stretched right up to the summit of European club football, the Champions league finals, it was even more evident how these players spend less time not playing football in the course of one year.
The champions league finals was played on June 1 while the Afcon was to kick off 20 days after, meaning that both Salah and Mane had less than a week to join Egypt and Senegal to finalize preparations ahead of the competition.
After playing week-in week-out through the tough and energy consuming English premiere league, travelling for hundreds of thousands for league and champions league matches, Salah and Mane just like many other African footballers plying their trade in Europe and around the globe, then came the physical and all demanding African Nations Cup in the heart of the deserts in Egypt where scourging temperatures coupled with the intensity of the competition sapped out the best of what is left in these players.
They are professionals and it is part of their job, no denial here. The competition took out the majority of the summer holidays for these players from June to July.
Salah, Egypt’s vice captain after losing 0-1 to South Africa on July 6th at the Afcon, two days later rejoined Liverpool’s team that left for the US for pre-season preparations. Meaning that the player had just one week of rest before travelling for the US.
For Senegal’s Mane the story was different as he led his side through to the finals of the Afcon, scoring 3 goals along the way.
Mane played 6 matches, two more than Salah at the Afcon and while he lost the finals to Riyah Mahrez on July 19, Salah and Liverpool were already in the USA for pre-season preparations.
Mane finally made a brief stop in Dakar with the Senegalese team to showoff their Silver medal to the nation, before joining Liverpool in the US for pre-season.
On Monday October 14 Egypt played a friendly match against Botswana and guess what, Mohamed Salah was intentionally left out of the squad just so he can get some rest while Sadio Mane played for Senegal in their 1-1 draw against Brazil last week.
Whether it is the nature of their job or the player’s commitment, the case of Salah and Mane as well as many other top flight professional footballers has precipitated the conclusion that some footballers go for less than two weeks in an entire football season without getting rest.