Death of Zimbabwean footballer sheds light on dark times of retirement

Dylan Bettencourt

Zimbabwean Charles Yohane spent his football days playing in South Africa for big clubs like Bidvest Wits and earning good money.

But his death highlights the difficulties African players face once they call time on their careers.

Yohane died in South Africa on 12 February after he was shot in an alleged carjacking incident. After retirement the former footballer spent his days working as a Bolt taxi driver.

Like many other African soccer stars, life after football was not easy for Yohane who could barely make ends meet.

“He would have been earning maybe around R76,000 a month as a player and around R6,000 working for Bolt monthly,” South African Football Association spokesperson Dominic Chimhavi told BBC Sport.

Yohane spent several years at Bidvest Wits, playing from 1997 until 2006 and then returning as a development coach. But when they were sold to Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila in 2020 he lost his job.

The defender enjoyed great moments on the pitch. He played a part in two historic goals for Zimbabwe at Afcon tournaments in 2006. He assisted both the country’s first ever goal at the tournament and the goal that was named the best of the tournament.

Yohane is also the club-record holder for the most appearances for the defunct Bidvest Wits.  He took to the field 268 times for the Clever Boys.

Yohane is not the only footballer to struggle during retirement. Congolese legend Mulamba Ndaye died of poverty in South Africa in 2019. The striker still holds the record for the most goals scored at a single Afcon tournament.

David Mkandawire, also from Zimbabwe, died a pauper in 2019 after his career with AmaZulu ended.

Image source: @GetIndiaNews


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