Mental Illness Is a Problem In The PSL

ProAthlete Management Agency accepting their award at the 2022 Hollard Sport Industry awards.

Mental illness has been a huge problem amongst PSL footballers in the past years and is getting worse. Football agent and scout Warren Swartz has stated that the issue of mental health amongst footballers and athletes alike is a very important issue that needs to be dealt with. Warren Swartz believes there are a lot of factors that contribute to the mental issue of footballers.

Warren Swartz presents the ProAthlete Management Agency. The agency walked away with the 2022 Hollard Young Agency of the Year award at the Hollard Sport Industry awards. The agency has the likes of Mamelodi Sundowns player Jerome Kalelse, Orlando Pirates MDC player Alessandro Du Plessis, Kaizer Chiefs MDC player Keaviano Francis, Stellenbosch FC player Simthandile Sishi, Chippa United player Ridwaan Cerfonteyn, AmaTuks Player Kyle Peters, Cape Town City player Ashley Nel and Cape Town Spurs player Logan Brown to name but a few in their ranks.

Mental health has a lot of elements that play a part and given that footballers live their lives in the public eye just makes it worse. Swartz has said that the stress that footballers deal with tends to be difficult to manage.

“Mental health is an important issue for professional players as well as for the ones who are still trying to break through. These guys face many challenges, their stress is keeping up with their bills and whether they still have a contract at the end of the season. The job insecurity is extremely high. Most players come from difficult circumstances and soccer is a way out for them and their families,” he told ThisIsFootball.Africa

Warren Swartz, talking about Mental Illness
Warren Swartz

Swartz believes agents must play a part in helping their players. Players should be able to rely on and communicate with their agents. There should be transparency between players and agents, and Swartz believes that can only be achieved by having a good relationship with your players. He said that there is a plan that he formulates for his players that can help them deal with their mental health.

“How I deal with my players is I have 8 weeks Mental and Mindset Management course for all our players during pre-season to get their minds right for the new season. However, this is a service we offer as an Agency for players who are outside of our Agency as well, I believe that talent alone won’t be always enough, your mind must be right too,” he said.

Swartz stated that players should not shy away from seeking help. Mental issue is a problem that is faced by everyone. PSL players should not rely on alcohol to resolve their mental health issues because that does not help, it just contributes more to the problem.

“I advise PSL players to seek professional help because the problem does affect their game in the long run. Soccer players’ morale always needs to be high for them to achieve optimal performance, and this is something club owners don’t understand.

“We have ex-professional players now who are sports Psychologists who do the sessions for us, so players who need assistance can reach out to us as a starting point if they don’t know anyone else that can assist them,” he said.

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