Life after football

HARARE - “I’m very happy with what I’m doing right now and don’t think I would have asked for anything better,” Eddie Mashiri tells the Daily News on Sunday, while recalling the dark days he endured after calling time on his illustrious playing career.

Back in his prime, Mashiri was a high-flying attacking midfielder, who made his debut for Dynamos back in 2000 when he was still a fresh-faced teenager at Churchill High School.

It was a commendable achievement considering that he was replacing Kalisto Pasuwa in the DeMbare midfield.

From there on, Mashiri never looked back, as he went on to become a regular in the Glamour Boys squad before making the move to South Africa.

At that point, everything seemed going on well for the Glen View-born footballer but that bubble finally burst when he called time on his playing career in 2011.

Having the comfort of a monthly salary and winning bonuses all taken away created problems for Mashiri and his family.

“I had achieved quite a lot during my playing days but immediately after retiring, I went into denial,” Mashiri recalls.

“I was no longer that player that I used to be, who used to command lots of support from every stadium I played in. 

“Times had moved, everything had changed and it was now only I and my newly-found family. That took me quite some time to come to terms with reality.”

Things were really tough for the ex-football star as he had to seek employment as a general worker at milk production company Nestle.

“I went in denial for two years,  I went and worked for Nestle for six months in the packaging department. 

“I was responsible for packing the 1kg milk products but I came to a point I told myself that this is not me and I threw in the towel,” he said.

The only thing that kept Mashiri going at that stage was the support from his wife Tendai Ushe and the fact that he had managed to buy a house during his playing days which meant he did not have pressure for securing rent money.

“I met her when she was working for a travel consultant and we have been together for eight years now, we live at our own place in Glen View 7 Extension. This is something I’m grateful for,” he said.

The couple is blessed with three children; daughters Ebbie Estelle (7), Eliseo Tapuwa (5) and 10-month-old son Ethan Takunda.

After quitting his job at Nestle, the former star tried a hustle in selling second-hand clothes.

“When I was out of employment I was running a second-hand clothing business, ndaipusha mabhero mudhara,” he said.

It was not an easy road considering the comforts Mashiri had become used to during his playing days.

“I used to travel a lot, I once travelled for many years to all the beautiful places and several countries on the continent and sleeping in some beautiful hotels, everything,” Mashiri said.

“It’s an artificial life that you will be living but the life that is to come after football is different from this. 

“When you are confronted with the stubborn reality, your kids grown up and school fees demands becoming bigger that’s when you will realise that indeed you were all along living an artificial life.”

After struggling to cope with life after his playing days, Mashiri finally decided to take up coaching badges.

“We had problems at home because no one was going to work and no one was fending  for the family so I then decided to get back to what I know best that’s when I ventured into coaching,” he said.

“I’m glad I now have a Level 2 Coaching certificate and now aiming for the big one. In essence it took me almost two years until the situation forced me to abandon lazy sitting.

“I ventured into schools to do a bit of coaching. I started off at George Emmanuel, moved to Westridge and now I am at St George’s College.”

All the denial and depression he suffered in those early years after retiring seems to be a thing of the past now.

“To be honest I think I’m now enjoying my life as a coach,” he said. 

“I have also ventured into private coaching of individual players and I’m happy watching young Tinotenda Benza of Herentals and seeing him score goals for his team which gives me that satisfaction and drive as a coach that only the sky can be the limit.”

In a bid to help the current generation of players to cope better with the effects of life after football, Mashiri and his friend Shingi Mungwini have formed a consultancy firm.

Besides his coaching roles, Mashiri is now a motivational speaker and now moves around the country holding discussions with current players.

The major topic of his speeches is to alert these players on the need to create a safety net which will be their fallback after hanging up their boots.

“The whole purpose is to help the current players build an ark before the rains pour, hold their hands, move and walk with them out of Sodom before the fire comes,” Mugwini said.

“It is through our experiences especially Mashiri that we would like to take the players to their probable tomorrow before they journey there.”

On a parting shot, Mashiri had some words of advice for current Premiership stars.

“All I am saying them is they need to listen to their coaches. Whatever the coaches are telling them today will ring a bell in the not so distant future.”

 

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