Bernard Parker is also studying part time as he looks to broaden his horizon. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Education is the key to a prosperous future and it’s vital that professional footballers show the way in inspiring the next generation to follow their lead.

It is why Kaizer Chiefs duo Siyabonga Ngezana and Bernard Parker are not discarding their books, despite playing football for one of the country’s most popular and best supported clubs.

Both players are fully aware of the need to improve themselves and to equip their minds for life after football.

Ngezana is a graduate of Amakhosi’s youth academy and is also a member of the South African national Under-23 squad.

He is currently studying Sports Management.

“I find my studies interesting,” said Ngezana. “It is so far, so good with my studies. But it is also challenging because of the balancing act involved.

“The balance is important because I have to focus on my studies while, at the same time, getting regular call-ups to the national team.

“But I’m driven by passion and dedication to achieve my dreams. I have to focus on all fronts to reach my goals.”

The Chiefs fullback says he is determined and wants to complete his studies.

“I want to do my best in my studies, but also not neglect my football career. Education and football go hand in hand for me.”

With the school exams having started already, Ngezana encouraged all the exam candidates to “have passion, be dedicated and work hard to achieve your dreams”.

“You have to believe in yourself and put more work in your studies. You have to focus and know that there’s life after football.”

While Ngezana is young and still making his way in life and football, it doesn’t mean that veterans are any different. The vastly experienced Parker is now 33 years old, but he, too, has focused on education as something that is important to him.

Parker is studying for a Higher Certificate in Sports Marketing Management.

“It is going well, and I am enjoying myself,” he said. “The good thing about it is that I am studying part time. I make sure I have time for books in between family and football.”

Parker, too, preaches balance.

“It is important to maintain the balance in all aspects of life. Education is key. If you are not keen to study careers outside of sports, then make yourself wiser within the many careers relating to sport.”

Parker also shared his message with the 2019 examination candidates.

“You have come a long way to get so far. Be proud of yourself, trust the process and enjoy the journey. Make the best of it and good luck to the class of 2019.”

Chiefs, as a club, take education as central to the development of the players and they provide support throughout their studies. 

African News Agency (ANA)