BY TERRY MADYAUTA
FORMER FC Platinum coach Lizwe Sweswe has implored professional football clubs in the country to consider hiring full-time psychologists to help their player overcome COVID-19-induced stress and anxiety.
Having gone for over year without competitive action, local footballers have endured their worst phase, especially with no indication of a possible resumption of football activities anytime soon.
The long break has reduced motivation and decreased enthusiasm, with a number of clubs also reported to be struggling to meet their financial obligations to players.
“It’s a difficult time, life throws lots of stuff at us, if we haven’t got that support you are going to have difficulties,” Sweswe said.
“All this has hard hit our players and I feel we all need psychological help to overcome it, even when football resumes.
“Some of them were in the last year of their contracts, some of them at the start of their careers.
“Some people haven’t got family units to support them emotionally,” he said.
Sweswe believes that in the absence of football activity, players may be forced to find stimulation elsewhere, potentially through gambling and alcohol.
“Players love football. Players don’t love running. They may do it for a certain time, because it supports something they love, and their performance, but when you’re in quarantine for a very long, you’ll need a certain mindset to keep you going. At this point some have already lost hope.
“At first it was easy for us to encourage our players to do individual training but right now it’s difficult and we don’t really know how they are coping up.
“Of course we might check up with them, but it has been difficult for us because all systems are down and we don’t know when everything comes back to normal,” he added.
Follow Terry on Twitter @madyautatpm