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Veteran's football is the option

Local Sports

Tagi Vonolagi, former Fiji team captain Tagi Vonolagi, former Fiji team captain Tagi Vonolagi says former footballers should be mindful of the health risks if they remain idle for long after their footballing career comes to an end.

The former goalkeeper’s comments stemmed after the passing away of Pita Dau, the former national team captain and other players in recent times.

“Former footballers need to become health conscious”, he said. “They must keep themselves occupied, being idle for long could pose serious health issues”.

Tagi says the start of the veteran’s league in every district is the best option for former players to walk off that extra lipids.

“We have lost too many players recently and its alarming”, said Tagi, the captain of Fiji’s first South Pacific Games Gold medal winning team in 1991.

“A veteran’s league is my guess the solution that would give former players a reason to stay connected to the sport they loved and stay healthy".

Tagi said former district reps, routine and a lifestyle that they built around the sport when they were involved changes when the sporting careers are over and there’s nothing to fall back on to stay active.


“Pita, like many others before him were active during their playing career, but post retirement had nothing to keep them occupied and that could well be the start to many illness”.

Dr. Erin Reifsteck an assistant professor in the department of kinesiology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro said studies show that former athletes become couch potatoes after their playing days and their habits change for the worse.

“Many former athletes struggle to find a way to work out when formal games and practices end”, he writes in his monthly health journal.

“There is an assumption that athletes know how to be active, have always been active and therefore will always be active, but the evidence suggests that is not necessarily the case”.

Reifsteck says besides, the most common of problems is the diet, eating habits and ignorance to healthy lifestyles.

“Start weaving the muscle confusion and cardiovascular exercises and healthy eating attributes longevity”.

Tagi said he couldn’t agree more, adds former players fall under Reifsteck’s findings and suggests the need for players to become health conscious.

“Like the Reifsteck finding weave the muscles and change the eating habits.

“Keep a watch on the intake, food and the supplements for a healthy lifestyle”.

Tagi said Fiji Football Association has made it hard on districts to run their own veteran’s competition as they want to govern players past their prime players.

“FFA should stay out of veterans’ affairs. We should be able to form our own league of interested footballers and play regular Sunday games without any governance”.

“It’s all about keeping fit and healthy”.


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