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Kompany Opens Up On Foster After EPL Relegation

Burnley head coach Vincent Kompany has lavished praise on Lyle Foster for his bravery in opening up to the world about his mental health struggles.

Foster, 23, was named in the Bafana Bafana preliminary squad ahead of the Nigeria and Zimbabwe 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, which was met with a mixed reception from supporters.

Perhaps falling to understand or grasping the concept of depression, something he was so vocal about when he started making strides with the national team, to the extent where he was suicidal during a dark period in his life whilst playing in Belgium.

He managed to overcome the issues with the help of Westerlo and his family, and his performances on the field led to the English club splashing €11 million on his services before their promotion to the Premier League.

He missed two months of league football after coming out to state he’s seeking professional help for his mental health, which also led to not representing South Africa in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast where they secured a bronze medal.

“I think Lyle did something very powerful by actually speaking up about it himself, and allowing us to speak about it,” Kompany told Premier League Inside Matters.

“How he processed his situation was very, very mature for a young individual in the end. I think we’ve all learned through experiencing this with him you know.

“The difficulty with football is that so often it’s the problem and as well it’s the solution, so these players will be confronted with different states of mind because of the pressure of the job, because of the pressure of being a footballer and what it means.

“Sometimes it’s not even towards the fans, it could be family, it could be your country, it could be your background, it could be your social media.

“So the stress of the hob and the demand of the performances as well, competition. But at the same time, it’s what they love doing, to create this environment where these players actually see football as their happy place, the solution, and take them away from what they see as a dark place, it’s been for me a learning curve for me this year.

“Lyle has been massive in helping us to understand how to best support players that are facing the situation.”

Foster scored five goals with three assists in 23 games during his debut Premier League season and looks set for a huge future for club and country.

Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Köhler is an award-winning South African football journalist. Having cut his teeth in the industry working at Kick-Off Magazine, he is now iDiski Times' senior digital content writer. He specialises in breaking top African football stories and transfers with a major focus on the 'big-three' Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates and CAF inter-club and international competitions. In 2021 he was listed amongst the top-five journalists under 30 in Print Media for the AIPS Awards.