MORE professional footballers are no longer taking part in money games and channeling their efforts towards their studies after enrolling for different online courses.
The initial period of the lockdown saw many players, from virtually every club in both the top-flight and Division One, engaging in money-games in high density suburbs across the country.
But, there has been a decrease in these activities, in recent weeks, following the intervention by the Footballers Union of Zimbabwe.
"We noted with concern, as almost every media house reported that the players, who are all our members, were engaging in these money-games," said Thomas Sweswe, the FUZ secretary general.
"We understand that the players are used to be training in groups and playing football on a daily basis but flouting the lockdown regulations, and risking permanent injuries, can never be an answer to the mental stress brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
"We can't entertain that.
"We then decided to engage them, via our communication platforms, to enlighten them on the dangers of spending time doing these activities and, instead, look at the positive side of things.
"We have always encouraged them to improve themselves professionally and academically.
"We are glad to announce that most of them have now enrolled for online courses and we are happy they have taken hid of our advise.
"We will continue playing our role as FUZ to make sure the players become the owners of their own future."
Sweswe said virtually all the players were aware they won't be playing forever.
"Football is not a permanent job. One day you will have to walk off the pitch and start leading a new life whether as a coach, medic, fitness trainer or even a career outside football," he said.
"So, we are engaging the players, both men and women, to take maximum advantage of this prolonged delay, in the start of football activities, to enroll for several courses offered online by several institutions.
"That way they won't only improve themselves but they will also keep away from the detrimental activities like playing money-games and other social vices."
Sweswe said it was important for the players to remain disciplined until a lasting solution to the pandemic was found.
"While this is the first time players have had to go for over four months, without knowing what will happen to their careers, they should remain disciplined," he said.
"We are trying to always tell them that their future is what matters.
"You will find that across the world you will see some players failing to come back to the field of play after doing the wrong things during this period.
"We are appealing to our footballers to remain focused, shun social ills, drugs and other uncalled for substances.
"This period will surely pass and, at the end of the day, football will be played.
"To those players who haven't enrolled for online courses as yet, please consider doing so. It's about your future at the end of the end."
The former Warriors defender said his organisation will continue engaging teams to address the players' plight.
The 2020 Premiership season was initially scheduled to get underway in April but had to be indefinitely shelved to contain the spread of Covid-19.