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Teko On Lorch’s Incident: Footballers Need Psychologists

  • June 1, 2024
  • 2 min read
Teko On Lorch’s Incident: Footballers Need Psychologists

Former Mamelodi Sundowns captain Teko Modise has weighed in on Thembinkosi Lorch’s recent social media controversy, sparking a discussion about the need for mental health support in football.

Modise acknowledges Lorch’s mistake but emphasizes the importance of understanding the human aspect of players. He highlights the demanding environment at Sundowns, where coach Rulani Mokwena expects top-tier discipline due to the team’s heavy competition schedule. Lorch’s off-field behavior resulted in his exclusion from the upcoming Nedbank Cup final against Orlando Pirates, his former club.

“I won’t defend him,” Modise said at a Nedbank Cup Gala dinner. “We all saw the video, and that’s an internal matter for Mamelodi Sundowns to address.”

Modise, a former PSL Footballer of the Year himself, empathizes with Lorch’s situation. He points out the lack of readily available mental health support for footballers, often leading to isolation and ridicule when players seek help.

“We forget players are human,” Modise stresses. “We expect them to be superhuman, but when they cry out for help, we push them away. Then, later on, we blame them for throwing away their careers.”

Modise said, despite his success in winning the NFD Player of the Season, PSL Footballer of the season twice and won all the trophies locally including the CAF Champions League, he was the most disliked player in the country. He highlights the lack of support for his mental well-being during his career.

“I was the most criticized footballer in the country,” Modise reveals. “There was no one to talk to, no sports psychologist to guide me. This kind of support just wasn’t available back then.”

Modise sympathizes with Lorch and other players facing similar challenges. He acknowledges his own past mistakes and emphasizes the importance of breaking the cycle of negativity.

“I was once labeled a curse,” Modise recounts. “I remember when I won my first league title with Mamelodi Sundowns (in 203/14), I remember calling my sister after the victory, saying ‘I want to make a press conference and tell all the stuff’ and that didn’t happen because I realized that nobody cares.”  

Modise has predicted a Sundowns victory in the Nedbank Cup final if they can score early and unsettle Orlando Pirates.

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Robin-Duke Madlala

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