Teko Modise is regarded as a Premier Soccer League Galactico – highly skilled and deservedly one of the high earners at his previous clubs.
But not even he thought he would have to downgrade his lifestyle after admittedly making terrible choices, like blowing R22 000 a month on an Aston Martin while still at Orlando Pirates.
As it turns out, this ‘lifestyle audit’ on himself would prepare Modise for life after football, where the endorsement deals, as lucrative as they sound, are nowhere near the money he made at his peak.
‘I downgraded my lifestyle, and by that, I mean I scaled down on what I was spending. I got a smaller apartment, I sold three of the four cars I had and instead of blowing R50 000 on sneakers, I would just get one pair. But people started whispering that I no longer had money and as a result I had just one friend left,’ Modise explains.
‘That’s why I was able to adjust to moving to Cape Town City – what I earned there compared to my salary at Mamelodi Sundowns was chalk and cheese. I was one of the highest earners at Sundowns and with bonuses, I could still survive when I joined a new club. I learnt the hard way.’
Now a businessman, football pundit and ex-player who has recently launched his own talent agency, Modise is better equipped to give financial guidance to emerging footballers.
In collaboration with Nedbank, Modise uses the Nedbank Cup as a platform to share his story on how the choices you make can have an impact on your life.
‘In football we don’t talk about coping with depression – I went and bought a car because I was depressed. I felt the need to be loved and accepted. A wiser me wouldn’t go and buy material things to make myself feel good. That was a bad decision,’ he admits.
‘I thought the financial flexibility I had would fill the void – it was about trying to belong. I had no business buying a car that cost me R22 000 a month. But the best education is experience. What I had done taught me a lot about finances in general.’
Cape Town City was to be his final club as a professional footballer, so when he eventually retired, Modise was more than equipped to avoid the riches to rags stories that we so often hear and read about former players.
‘I made a decision a few years ago that I don’t have to be this superstar that wear branded clothing and drive a certain car because that’s what people expect of me. To be honest, that came with playing for City, that move humbled me. I realised I didn’t have to prove anything to anyone and that’s when I began to make smarter choices. Of course, the temptation is there, but I am comfortable with myself now,’ he explains.
It says a lot about someone who has always been vocal about being from a disadvantaged background.
‘I got paid R2 000 before tax at Ria Stars, my first professional club. And at that time, I lived with Abednigo Netshiozwi – paying R600 for accommodation and a cellphone contract. After all my expenses, I was left with R200,’ Modise reveals.
‘Dona’, nicknamed after Italian great Roberto Donadoni, remains a popular figure long after hanging up his boots and he puts that down to the personal sacrifices he made in the twilight of what was already a memorable career.