Last year
Helman Mkhalele recently attended a 2016 Ke Yona Team Search educational session at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria where he gave an inspiring talk to these rising stars on the importance of education even when pursuing a career in professional football.  ~ 

Helman “Midnight Express” Mkhalele had priceless advice for the 2016 Ke Yona Team Search players when he mentored them during the Nedbank’s Ke Yona Ring of Steel.

The Ring of Steel educational session was held at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria.

Mkhalele rose to fame during the mid-1990s. The former Bafana Bafana midfielder, who was part of the Orlando Pirates team to win the 1994 National Soccer League and 1995 African Cup of Nations, went on to enjoy a six year international career.

Mkhalele spoke frankly about the successes and struggles he went through during his time as a professional player.

“Once you become a soccer star, that is when the hard work starts. Girls will be throwing themselves on you. Friends, especially not-so-good friends, come to you and give you advice that could hinder your progress. All eyes are on you.  The pressure that always comes with fame is that you end up feeling you are above the law because, wherever you go people are greeting and praising you.

“It is important for players to realise: Yes, I have this name that everyone knows but I must make sure that I deserve their respect and that I return that respect,” he said.

Mkhalele learned the hard way that being careless with money can lead to financial ruin.

But, thanks to his training as a teacher, eventually he was able to bounce back.

“When I was a professional player, I knew my career wouldn’t last forever and I carved out time to get an education in teaching. When I lost everything, I had to enter a mainstream job market. It was through my education that I was able to start again and build up everything I had lost.

Some golden nuggets Mkhalele shared at the session included:

- Overcome and adapt to changing environments and working hard so that you can get the opportunity to play overseas.

- Deal with disappointments by understanding that it is important to remain focused and dedicated to your goal despite the challenges

- Go back and reflect on mistakes so that you can focus on bouncing back from disappointments.

- Being able to read the game is the foundation of everything.

- Look after your body both on and off the field.

- Respecting your coaches and fellow players both on and off the field is important to build up your brand.

- Strive to earn everything for yourself. Do not depend on your family for financial support.

- Strive to achieve your own destiny. Do not wait for others to applaud you.

 Catch the highlights of Mkhalele mentoring the Ke Yona players on the Ke Yona TV series at 2pm on SABC1 this Sunday.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining