Moroka Swallows head coach Steve Komphela believes that football should stop being hypocritical when it comes to mental health issues.
The topic of mental health in football is in the spotlight again following English Premier League side Burnley’s announcement that Lyle Foster is on an indefinite break, working with specialists due to mental health issues.
Komphela says the problem is when people who work in football, live in society and are aware of mental health problems turn a blind eye when it comes to players.
“I find it to be highly hypocritical,” said Komphela.
“It’s hypocrisy that we advocate for mental health in general, we are quite aware of mental health issues in general in society in communities, now as we say football is just a microscopic reflection of society.
“So if and when society has a particular problem, football will experience the problem. So when society is experiencing mental issues through whatever, the whole world is going through mental issues, now do we think football does not have, football has.
“Then the hypocrisy I’m talking about is the one where I am a coach at Moroka Swallows Football Club, I know there’s mental health issues in society but when I have mental health issues in my club and then I choose to treat that player differently that’s hypocrisy.
“It is my primary responsibility as a guy, who is conscious and aware of mental health issues in society, to be responsible enough and be responsive to the mental health issues within.
“If I have a player who is giving me problems as a coach and giving the club problems and then I decide to say ‘hey, let him go’, that’s hypocrisy. After letting the player go because he’s got his own issues because we always come up with things like this is a professional environment, we don’t babysit people and all that.
“Do you want to tell me that society must adopt the same strategy to say we don’t have time for people who’ve got mental health issues here? No man. We just need to find a way to give them tools and mechanisms of how to cope with these issues and they vary, they are different.”