A number of Premier Soccer League (PSL) players are likely to slip into depression during this lockdown period.
This is the view of former Bafana Bafana doctor Ntlopi Mogoru, who says the status quo is bound to affect the mental health of players.
“It’s not easy for anybody to stay mentally healthy during this kind of the pandemic. The situation is very abnormal around the whole world,” Mogoru told FARPost.
“The level of stress among soccer players is actually very high. They are worried if they will ever go back to training and start playing football again. Some are worried about their contracts. Remember some have their contracts coming to an end (in June) and they haven’t negotiated new deals.”
Mogoru, who has worked for Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United, says lack of training resources for players to keep fit will make the lockdown period hard to bear. He says it’s hard for players to avoid depression.
“Players are highly vulnerable to go into full term depression based on the things I have mentioned. It’s really unavoidable. Imagine a player that has been struggling to have game time, prone to injuries, contract coming to an end and hasn’t negotiated a new contract. Imagine players who are on rehab and their teams have given them programmes and obviously they don’t have facilities at home to carry their programmes so this whole thing has brought a lot of problems in terms of how players are managed and treated,” said Mogoru.
Mogoru’s prediction is that it’s highly unlikely for the 2019/20 PSL season to be completed before the end of June. He feels the levels of anxiety and stress among players will rise given that some’s contracts will be ending in June.
“The problems are even bigger. The PSL hasn’t released any statement about extension of contracts. Are they going to extend the contracts by another month or two months for those contracts that were supposed to end by the end of June? Will the PSL make such a concession? Those are real issues,” said the former Platinum Stars team doctor, who is hoping PSL clubs are paying attention to players’ mental challenges at this time.
“I suppose their team doctors have spoken to them and or are in contact with them to check how they are doing. I don’t expect players to be super healthy mentally. The situation is affecting every South African so expect anything out of this.”
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By Hosea Ramphekwa