International FootballMzansi Footballers AbroadTop Stories

‘If you care, you’ll find right answers’: Kompany responds to Broos’ remarks on Foster

Burnley FC coach Vincent Kompany has responded to Hugo Broos’ remarks on Lyle Foster, suggesting that national teams must first “care” for players’ well-being before questioning their commitment to national duty.

The subtle hit back by Kompany addresses Bafana Bafana coach Broos’ disappointment about not having Burnley FC striker Foster at the recently concluded 2023 AFCON tournament in Ivory Coast.

Foster had to step away from representing Bafana at the AFCON tournament with Burnley citing the need for the player to focus on his well-being and prioritise his mental health needs.

The 23-year-old was sidelined for seven weeks earlier in the English Premier League [EPL] season, undergoing specialised treatment for the mental illness issue.

While understanding the sensitive nature of the situation, Broos has expressed his frustration about Foster’s participation in his club – Burnley, amidst his Bafana Bafana absence at Africa’s showpiece.

“Honestly, I’m not happy…Our [SAFA] doctor talked with the doctor of Burnley, we put everything together, and we concluded that it’s not good to call Foster,” said Broos earlier this week.

Foster also informed SAFA that he wouldn’t be able to compete at AFCON as “he is not ready”.

“But then he starts playing and he plays every game, 90 minutes in England. He plays also several games in a week. And then I’m asking myself why it wasn’t possible that he came with us to Ivory Coast,” added Broos.

In a statement released prior to the AFCON tournament, Burnley stated that factors beyond football, including maintaining familiar surroundings and engaging in enjoyable activities, played a crucial role in Foster’s decision.

Vincent Kompany responds to Hugo Broos' remarks on Lyle Foster
Lyle Foster


In light of recurring comments on the former AC Monaco and Orlando Pirates striker, Kompany emphasised the need to calmly address queries, not reacting with frustration, which remains the priority.

“Physical fitness and mental fitness are two very different things,” said Kompany. “You can be physically fit, but you can also mentally be in a position where it’s not a possibility for you to go away to a tournament for a month if you’re not in the right headspace or you don’t have the capacity to deal with that.

“We’ve been very open about it. You come out of the rehab clinic; you’re dealing with a problem that is beyond football. It’s life. We were just part of his rehabilitation plan. It’s his environment, he comes in through the doors, he’s with people of his age, friends as well, not just colleagues. He doesn’t have friends outside the club; he’s come from abroad. His social support system is the club.”

Since returning from his indefinite break in mid-December 2023, Foster has featured in eight appearances for Burnley.

He has been one of Burnley’s key players, with four goals and three assists in 14 Premier League matches.

“The timing of him returning to play or not, it’s absolutely not our decision. It’s seeing what happens and seeing if he feels ready to do it,” stated Kompany. “The first thing we did was remove him completely out of first-team football. We got care for him.

“We took a hit for it. It doesn’t matter if we took a hit in a period where we could have used him. If he had said he needed another month, another two months, another three months, we would have gone along with that.

“But we are part of his rehabilitation; we’re his support system. I can explain it again and again and again, and I will do so. By the way, because I expect this question to come again. I believe we sent documentation, but we have documentation available for anybody that has the authority to look into it. We can share that; it’s not a problem. Everything is documented.

“We went to great lengths to try and explain the situation to all governing bodies. FIFA, Premier League, FIFPro, PFA, South African FA, the manager, we tried to explain. But I expect I will have to explain again, so I will explain again. In a couple of months, I will do it again and again until people understand.”

“People have a different way of looking at these things in various parts of the world. That’s the reality of it, and I respect that as well. I really respect that. But if your starting position is the care of the player, then you find the right answers. That’s the only thing we did.”

RELATED STORY: ‘I’m frustrated when I see this now’: Broos on Foster

Back to top button