AFCON 2019: Seychelles Team Are Part-Time Football Players

By Godwin Aikigbe

Most players  of Seychelles national team, which 3-0 to Nigeria in Saturday’s 2019 African Cup of Nations qualifying tie are part-time football players, with most of them doing two or three full-time jobs, which doesn’t  allow them enough time for training.

Their keeper, Dave Mussard, who became an internet sensation due to his bloated figure has two jobs. He plays in goal for Seychelles and he also works as a pastry chef at Hotel Pataran on La Digue Island.

Because the squad is made up out of players who do not earn a living from representing the national team, they all have part-time jobs.  Players had to beg for time off and, in some cases, could not get time off and had to miss training. Not great.

Gavin Jeanne, who coaches the national team, shared some insight in an interview before the fixture, saying:

“We have all sorts of jobs among the players,” Jeanne told KweséESPN. “It will be difficult for me to tell you all of them. I know we have drivers, masons, a stevedore [dock worker], a tourist guide, people who do causal labour. Everything.”

Defender Bertrand Esther works as a driver while Winger Colin Bibi is a messenger. And Mussard, of course, the pastry chef.  Combined, the squad earns just $635 per month. There are small allowances for training, but not enough to make it a job.

Prior to the fixture, Jeanne shared the struggles of trying to prepare for a fixture when his squad is working.

“We are trying to prepare as much as we can. It has been a little bit difficult for us because our players need to go to work before they come for training,” he says.

“The players did not get released from work. Some of them are from the other islands. We train in the morning, they go to work and come back in the afternoon.

“Some of them cannot make it to the morning session because they have to take the flight at five in the morning so it is quite difficult. But we are quite used to it so we have to manage as much as we can.”