Editorials 3.8.2016 06:02 am

Ill-discipline can ruin our athletes

 Jabu Mahlangu speaks during the launch of the YFE programme at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Houghton, 9 July 2015. YFE stands for Young, Free and Educated and is an initiative to encourage people especially the youth to drink responsibly. The initiative is abcked by the Association for Responsible Alcohol use and will have roadshows featuring their ambassadors Oskido and Jabu Mahlangu at various universities across the country. Picture Neil McCartney

Jabu Mahlangu speaks during the launch of the YFE programme at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Houghton, 9 July 2015. YFE stands for Young, Free and Educated and is an initiative to encourage people especially the youth to drink responsibly. The initiative is abcked by the Association for Responsible Alcohol use and will have roadshows featuring their ambassadors Oskido and Jabu Mahlangu at various universities across the country. Picture Neil McCartney

How many times have we seen ill-discipline destroy the once promising careers of our sportsmen and women?

First to spring to mind is former Kaizer Chiefs star Jabu Mahlangu. His soccer career was interrupted by alcohol abuse and a series of absent-without-leave incidents. Thankfully for Mahlangu, he has grabbed a second chance as a SuperSport commentator.

The same cannot be said of another exceptional soccer talent, Mbulelo “Old John” Mabizela, the former Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana skipper, whose contract with Tottenham Hotspur was cancelled in 2004 following several disciplinary infractions, including missing training sessions.

Mabizela tried to no avail to resuscitate his career locally, but drug offences scuttled that. Now the career of Phillip Ndou, one of South Africa’s most gifted boxers, may have come to an end after he lived up to his nickname (Time Bomb) and spectacularly knocked out three boxing officials who reportedly declined his boxing licence application just before a fight.

These three sad tales are a wretched reminder of how a lack of self-control and discipline can rob our athletes of their chance to showcase their God-given talents.

today in print