It has been discovered that sports has mentally tortured many people alongside the entertainment it brings. High Blood Pressure and Stroke come in.
In Malawi, contractual disagreements are common and this has made many players and coaches to suffer in silence after being persecuted in their teams or even worse, being fired without following the contract.
It ended in tears for Peter Munthali at Mighty Wanderers after sustaining an injury that saw him off the team. He says he had a good time at Nomads since 2015 until he had a muscle tear that took him out of play.
“As I was still nursing my injury, my contract was going to the end and they let me go injured. No help. To tell you, it is now a case that has been in court for 4 years with nothing tangible.
“I went through mental torture. No support from the team and despite all the effort, there was nothing coming out. I was greatly affected. Even now.” Munthali said.
Long time serving football player Joseph Kamwendo recalls his fate in South Africa while playing for Orlando Pirates when he had to be sidelined from the playing field for sometime, a thing which he said mentally affected him.
“It affected me very much because I wasn’t playing as I wanted. It happens in every professional league and here, a lot because of the standards. But for one to perform on the pitch, first thing he has to be happy and free minded but it is not mostly the case in football”. Kamwendo said.
Even coaches have been victims of mental torture due to football related misunderstandings as former Nyasa Big Bullets and Mighty Tigers coach Rodgers Yasin explains his cases with the teams that left him psychologically affected.
“Big Bullets called me to help them coach their team at a time the team was not performing and I went. We were 4 people including my assistants and we all signed contracts together.
“The team won the league but then 8 games to the end of the other season, me and my first assistant got fired for reasons I do not understand. Some say because we did not win cups. But just like that, we got fired. Right inside a season.
“To tell you the truth, it affected me. Mentally I was disturbed. It took my friends to help my situation. Recently I was hired by Mighty Tigers as coach for the 2020 season and 8 games later, they fired me without proper reasons too. You can imagine that.” Narrated Rodgers.
Former Malawi National Netball Team Captain now Football Association of Malawi-FAM Youth Football Development Officer James Sangala defines this as a policy matter.
“In Malawi it seems everyone does what they want. A club can terminate a running contract with a player without following procedures.
“Sometimes a player gets injured, he is not taken care of and because of that, at the end of a season, he is laid off due to performance. Players get affected mentally with this.
Sangala says government should come in to establish policies that will deal with these issues.
“In some countries we also see FIFA disciplining clubs for mistreating their players and it works there. It has to be the same here in Malawi.Otherwise players get frustrated and some just quit playing while still young.” Said Sangala.
But it seems it is not only football that is facing such challenges as even in netball, Joanna Kachilika, Captain and Coach-Player for Thunder Queens says it is just passion that keeps many netball players in the game.
“To say the truth, most of us continue playing because of the passion we have for the game. There are so many problems in netball that sometimes I would just want to quit. Problems that can mentally destroy a player.” She explained.
Health expert Martin Ndiyale says such problems have got potential to cause diseases such as High Blood Pressure and Stroke due to prolonged thinking.
“It is a problem. Because these people keep on thinking about what is happening to them. This later can come with High Blood Pressure, Stroke and other effects. Many people are going through problems in their clubs and they suffer in silence.
“The most important thing is that clubs should create an environment that is conducive for players and officials. Whenever there are issues, they should be rectified. Imagine a player that is not getting paid but has family and responsibilities, can this one not be sick mentally?.” Ndiyale asked.
In 2019, FIFA ordered Zambian club Lusaka Dynamos to pay Malawian star Dalitso Sailesi money amounting to $128,675 which is about 95 million Kwacha for breach of contract and it set as an example to many clubs in Africa and beyond.
Maybe there will really be a time when all this will be history, when the game of football will carry complete honor not just on the pitch, but also out. Otherwise, mental torture is there.
What do you think can be other solutions to this? Comment in the box.