City players score off-pitch skills

Six Cape Town City players resort to extraordinarily innovative ways to stay on top of their financial game during lockdown.

The six players lined up their laptops and cell phones for a financial fitness session.

Since it signed a sponsorship deal with the club, just over a year ago, financial
services provider, DirectAxis had been eager to include the players in its financial
education courses, which it presents to communities nationally through The Clothing
Bank as well as peer-education facilitator, Gold Youth.

It’s something that Cape Town City chairman, John Comitis, was keen to support.

“DirectAxis has embarked on uplifting the financial knowledge of players so they
can take care of the money they get and be able to finish their careers and have
something to show for it. There are too many cases of players, at the end of their
careers, ending up with nothing.

“But as every football coach, and now Me and My Money trainer, Nicky Edwards, will
attest, sometimes a referee’s call can upset even the best-laid plans. In this case the
referee was the National Command Council and the call was a national lockdown.

“Even as Nicky, The Clothing Bank branch manager and business mentor, prepared
herself to step into Jan Olde Riekerink’s boots, she was faced with having to present
the course virtually instead of personally.

“Ultimately the lockdown proved to be more of an opportunity than a hindrance,”
explains Shafeeqah Isaacs, head of financial education at DirectAxis.

“We’d been looking for ways to expand our successful community financial
education programmes to reach more people and presenting these online with
community partners and data providers was a consideration. Cape Town City was a
good way to trial the concept, particularly as the players already had the
technology platforms.”

Nicky says that the Me and My Money course is very interactive, and she was
concerned that participants may not be as engaged on Zoom. It turned out not to
be a problem.

“We did have a little finger trouble at the start. Things like background noise
because mics weren’t muted when people had finished talking. Or when the
opposite happened, and someone was passionately telling us about their
experience with money while on mute. But we soon got used to the online format.”

The Me and My Money course uses case studies, practical examples, the
participants’ own experiences and exercises to contextualize how many South
Africans struggle to manage money. They then learn about budgeting, understand
installment sales and compound interest, managing debt responsibly and saving.

“The course engages people both logically and emotionally and while it contains
general lessons about money and managing it very much aims to make these
relevant to the participants’ personal circumstances. It was amazing how engaged
the players were, despite the course being delivered digitally. Perhaps, particularly
for younger people, it’s easier to share via a screen than face-to-face.”

It’s an experience that’s borne out by the participants.

For Marc Anderson some of the lessons were straight from goalkeeping 101 – learning
from past mistakes and making better decisions in future.

“I was focussed on the wrong things and am looking at my money with new insight. I
will now prioritise payments and budgeting.”

Midfielder Thabo Nodada learned about the importance of paying attention to the
terms and conditions and how compound interest can escalate debts over time.

For Peter Leeuwenburg, “This course was an eye opener. I spend too much money
on daily small expenses that I could have saved that over time.”

John Comitis says it’s a first step towards bigger things:

“We’re known as a club that’s committed to our communities through initiatives
such as Dreamclub 100. Enabling players to better manage their financial affairs will
later grow into a broader community programme that addresses an urgent need.”

Already DirectAxis is planning an extended financial education social media
campaign that will run on Cape Town City’s Facebook page.

“We’re really excited that this first foray into presenting financial education digitally
worked so well. We’re super keen to build on this though our other courses so we
can reach more people, more effectively,” says Shafeeqah.

Written by: Diski Voice