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Clubs urged to help with mental issues

CHAKALISA DUBE
Social challenges: Selefa says clubs should engage qualified psychologists PIC: KEOAGILE BONANG
FRANCISTOWN: For sometime now coaches have often accepted the main job of acting as makeshift psychologists to deal with various mental or social challenges facing players.

However, TAFIC centre back and former national player Gobonyeone Selefa has said that the trend in which coaches bear the responsibility of ‘improvised psychologists or social workers’ has to stop.

He stated that there is need for clubs to engage skilled people to deal with psychological and social challenges faced by players. Selefa was speaking at a counselling seminar organised by Football Union Botswana (FUB) in Francistown recently. FUB had organised the seminar in a bid to provide counselling to players from various leagues.

FUB believes that soccer players are amongst a section of the community that has been negatively affected by COVID-19 owing to lack of football activity.

“I believe that it is necessary for teams to have people with the necessary knowledge as well as the ability to properly discern and effectively deal with various mental challenges faced by our players,” Selefa said.

Selefa asserted that players are vulnerable to social ills and other factors that affect their emotional well being thus they need professional assistance in that regard.  He added that fame has also led to error of judgement amongst many players ultimately resulting in social ills such as drugs that ultimately throw them into depression.

“Many social ills and psychological problems faced by players are beyond the competence of coaches. They

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need experts. Experts are familiar with both types of social as well psychological problems and know how to handle them appropriately,” Selefa said.

Still at the seminar, Charlotte Siya from Valor mental health foundation also acknowledged that players face an array of social and psychological challenges. She encouraged them to speak out and seek help from professionals instead of bottling up their problems.

She also emphasised that it is vital for clubs to partner with experts to deal with social and psychological challenges faced by players.

Dr Qhiniso Francis, from Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital (NRH) said some fans should also shoulder the blame for social and psychological problems faced by players.  “Some fans give players alcohol as an appreciation for a good game. Too much alcohol is something that destroys players’ careers or affects their performance. When players do not perform they start getting depressed and ultimately engage in many social ills,” he said.

FUB representative, Tebogo Mothusi encouraged players to get rid of their penchant for shunning education and other government initiatives.

He emphasised that going to school as well taking other empowerment initiatives organised by government amongst others can help players escape mental and psychological problems. He expressed worry that many players continue to shun short empowerment courses organised by FUB.



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