SuperSport United’s Thulani Hlatshwayo Opens Up About Mental Health Struggles at Orlando Pirates
SuperSport United’s Thulani Hlatshwayo has become the latest footballer to reveal the mental health challenges he faced during his time with Orlando Pirates.
The 33-year-old, formerly a defender for Pirates, shares his experiences as a target of criticism from fans at Mayfair and delves into the impact of social media on a player’s well-being.
The Toll of Criticism and Social Media Pressures
In an interview with Sunday World, Hlatshwayo discusses how the phenomenon of being booed by fans affected his mental health.
He also sheds light on the changing landscape of football and its intersection with social media, acknowledging its power to either build or break a player.
The scrutiny and judgment players face in the digital realm, he suggests, are significant factors in their mental well-being.
Mental Health Awareness in Football
Hlatshwayo’s revelation follows similar instances involving other players, including Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Brandon Peterson and Burnley striker Lyle Foster.
Reflecting on the industry’s historical neglect of mental health, Hlatshwayo emphasizes the evolving nature of the game.
He notes that older-school coaches, such as Styles Phumo, Shakes Mashaba, and Gavin Hunt, focused on instilling character in players.
However, he underscores the growing need for greater awareness and support for mental health in football.
The ‘Tyson’ Persona and Challenges at Orlando Pirates
Known by the moniker ‘Tyson,’ Hlatshwayo joined Pirates after the sale of Bidvest Wits.
Recounting his challenging stint with the Soweto giants, he expresses empathy for players facing struggles similar to his own.
Drawing parallels with Brandon Peterson’s experiences, Hlatshwayo highlights the importance of a strong support structure in overcoming mental health challenges.
Advocating for Player Support and Recognition of Mental Health
Hlatshwayo advocates for a shift in attitude toward mental health in football, urging that it be taken more seriously.
He emphasizes the crucial role of support systems in helping players perform at their best.
Referencing Burnley’s supportive actions for Lyle Foster, he points out the positive impact such gestures can have on a player’s psychological well-being.
In light of recent losses, notably George Chigova, he underscores the collective psychological toll on the team and the need for comprehensive mental health support within the football community.Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn