Mike Azira in action for Uganda during AFCON. Getty Images
Uganda Cranes midfielder Mike Azira has said that players should start to prepare for life after football before the final whistle.
The Chicago Fire FC player, speaking to Forbes this week, advised the players to use their time “wisely.”
“You have to use your time wisely,” Azira told Forbes. “You’re bored when you’re not occupied. If you occupy your mind there’s no way you’re going to be bored. It’s important to have a routine. As a player we have a schedule, and these are times you need to sit down and reflect without someone directing you to do these things.
“It’s important for all soccer players to use this time wisely and improve themselves as individuals. At the end of the day we won’t play soccer for the rest of our lives. It’s what we do, not who we are. Who we are will always be there and it’s important to invest in who you are, and to me that’s very important.”
Azira played for SC Villa locally before he was offered a scholarship to Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Kentucky.
His professional career started with the Charleston Battery of the United Soccer League in 2012.
He joined the MLS in 2014 when he joined the Seattle Sounders. Azira then played 66 games for the Colorado Rapids from 2016-18 before joining the Impact from 2018-19.
Azira, who is staying at home like most of everyone in the States during this Covid19 pandemic, added:
“As bad as it is, it’s a possibility and opportunity to prepare for our lives after our playing careers,” he said.
“We shouldn’t be negative because everyone is dealing with it right now. We are all human beings. We need to stay positive and be kind to other people.
“You have to find a reason to get out of bed every day. You need to push yourself. It’s better to be prepared because you’re setting yourself up to fail if you’re not prepared.”
Additional reporting from Forbes