Life’s just great in Switzerland, says Ivan Winstanley

2012-03-31 20:12

Former Bidvest Wits and Moroka Swallows defender Ivan Winstanley felt that he got the most out of his career, so he not only quit, he migrated to the Alps.

It has been over a year since the ­35-year-old moved to Switzerland, the native country of his wife, Sandra.

The two reside in Baden, a town situated 15 minutes outside Zurich.

“My wife and I have two companies here – a stationery shop and a sports company called Sportpec, which stands for sports performance enhancement centre. We offer services to better athletics’ performance,” said Winstanley, who last played for Thanda Royal Zulu in 2009.

His wife is a former Swiss tennis player and currently works for Swiss Olympics as a sports psychologist.

Winstanley said “politics, poor coaches and bad decisions by people who own clubs” forced him to hang up his boots after more than a decade since he made his debut with Wits in 1995.

“Some of the club owners know little about soccer and that really took the fun out of the game for me after 17 years. My wife has been with me in South Africa for the last six years and we decided on a change of scenery.”

The lanky player is so settled overseas and said he “speaks a little German and is still in the learning process with the Swiss German that my wife and family speak”.

Winstanley said he still had family and friends in South Africa.

As for his brother Neil, Ivan said: “He is also retired and still in South Africa. He has looked after himself and is therefore able to enjoy

life now.” Ivan regards his career highlight as “playing most of my career with my brother”.

“I don’t have any regrets, I enjoyed what I did for as long as it lasted and feel that I got the most out of my career.”

Ivan had a message for South African players who often don’t have anything to fall on once their playing days are over.

“Think long term, as sport is often short. Be smart with your money and make the sacrifices early, so you can enjoy your life afterwards. And don’t let people know what you have.”

» dmothowagae@citypress.co.za


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