“The truth is you don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. Life is a crazy ride, and nothing is guaranteed unless you create your own tomorrow”.
These words from him were unremitting throughout the hour chat, and he was fully disposed to look on the bright side of it.
Dodzie is a very familiar name in the annals of the Ghana Premier League.Kwabena Dodzie was all the go, markedly in the middle of the millennium.Kwabena’s flamboyance in dreadlocks, grinding play and oomph endeared him to the fans of BA United, Great Olympics and notably, Kotoko, with who he won the title.
Whiles Kwabena’s series of transfers and financial figures made headlines, his younger brother, Benjamin was thrilled to follow in Kwabena’s path, and make football his craft.
But Benjamin will live to grow a great abhorrence for the game he so adored. Benjamin Dodzie’s first taste of the Ghanaian top flight was with Kumasi-based King Faisal and as a youngster, he enjoyed every bit of it.
The towering centre-back also had stints with BA Stars, Bofoakwa Tano and was a key member of the Aduana Stars batch that secured promotion into the premiership in 2009.
After over 15 years of teetering between the topflight and second-tier of Ghana football, Benjamin has decided to look elsewhere – and his rare choice of life after football is far-flung from the game.
He wants to, as difficult but possible, stay away from the game and have nothing to do with it.
“Ghana football hasn’t treated me fairly, and this I say without feeling apologetic”, Benjamin Dodzie said.
“I speak for myself. I know some others who have had the best from the game and are enjoying it, but I feel disappointed anytime I look back at the numbers of wasted years in the game”,
“I do regret recounting the number of clubs I played for, and the years, without anything to show for those toils”.
“But in all, I take solace from the fact that; everything happens for a reason. Perhaps those times taught me good lessons”.
Benjamin, who also had short stints with Dolphins of Nigeria and Kakamenga Boys of Kenya, now roasts corn on the streets of New Dormaa, a suburb of the Brong Ahafo capital, Sunyani. Just behind the corn roasting install is a wooden compartment where he retails second-hand clothes.
“This business has helped me more than the over 15 years I spent in football. I have been in it and I know what I’m talking about”,
“I roast corn and sell. I set up this small business for my sister but I take it up and roast it myself when she is not around, and this I do alongside my second hand clothing business”,
“I always say, life after football is very dangerous, and I urge my colleague footballers to plan life very well because hour after hour, the future draws closer”,
“Some of my teammates and I could go six to seven months without a salary in the top flight and when it is time for payment, you either receive GH 100 or nothing at all”,
“But I invest some GH1,000 in this business and it brings great returns. Why should I choose football over this”,
Many footballers struggle to cope with life after football, having to sustain and balance popularity in financially difficult periods. But Benjamin Dodzie has channeled his energy into doing something that most of his colleagues will find very challenging and repulsive to pursue.
And despite criticisms and ridicule, he believes it has been worth it.
“This is not arm robbery and not an illegal trade so why should I feel shy doing it”,
“Everyone have gotten their own house numbers. I don’t care about what others say and I don’t get downhearted by criticisms. I married a woman who understands me. She knows she will depend on me and once my business isn’t illegal, I don’t mind doing it”,
“Ghana football is like the slave trade. People will use you and make their lives better whiles you remain in abject poverty as a footballer”,
“I will urge my fellow footballers to see the other side of life as they play. They must start thinking about life after football because it is not pleasant”.
Dodzie insists he feels let down by Ghana football and it states, but there’s one reward he has at heart from the game.
“Most of the clubs I played still owe me. I cannot mention names but there is one thing that gladdens my heart anything I think about my sojourn in the game”.
“I have to thank the Dormaahene for that. He gave every member of our batch a plot of land as a reward for our effort to secure top-flight football and anytime I visit the site, I feel somehow accomplished”,
Arouse the average ex-footballer from sleep and ask for their choice of work. In a flash, he would tell you his intention of having a coaching career, an agent or something related to the game. But this doesn’t ring for Benjamin.
“I don’t think I will ever spend time on the bench as a coach. I think I have wasted enough time in the game. I neglected education because of football and so if it didn’t become successful despite my tries, I have not look into another trade”,
“My little advice to the young footballers now; let them find God, dedicate their life to him and pray fervently. The game is full of unseen hands and it could betray you”,
“Whiles you play, plan your life. Save the little you can and don’t wait to sign for Kotoko, Hearts or big team before you get a big money move”. But does he miss football sometimes or at all?
“Yes I do. Especially when I watch European soccer. This evening whiles I was watching John Terry bid farewell, I nearly cried. Seeing how the fans and players altogether clapped and sang his name, I felt like wearing my boots and taking to the field again”,
“But then the voice struck again. Not everyone will have it the same as they wish and so I’m content”.
Now an ardent Christian and a worshiper at the Church of Christ, Dodzie believes good times may come, but until then, this is what life has presented and he will perfect it”,
“I would have wished to be a big football star and I know it is not all over, but life chose the other way”,
“Through this new found business, I’m able to cater for my wife and three children and that is what God requires of me ultimately
“I have attached tomorrow to my name, and what that implies is that nobody knows what tomorrow brings”,