Argentine footballer Emiliano Sala, and his pilot David Ibbotson, died in a plane crash in the English Channel on January 21, 2019. Cardiff City FC of the English Premier League had just signed the forward from Nantes in the French top flight. The two clubs, and the larger football community, came together to pay emotional tribute to Sala’s memory. However, the circumstances surrounding the crash provided an ugly peek into the dark realities of football’s rampant commercialisation. Former professionals Renedy Singh and Ishfaq Ahmed, both very closely involved in the evolution of football in India, tell us why tragedies such as Sala’s demise will be compounded if young players are not given the right education and the tools to make informed choices. They look back at their playing careers and examine the positive changes -- from unionisation and standardised contracts to basic facilities -- and the pitfalls of an ecosystem currently in the throes of an unprecedented cash infusion.