Free State Stars goalkeeper Daouda Diakite has returned to football after spending a full season out of the game due to injury. In his first match in almost a year, Diakite was included in the 18-man match day squad in Kinnah Phiri’s side for the highly anticipated game against the last weekend, which his team went on to lose. However whilst he may now be in almost full physical form, the star is still carrying the mental scars of his previous injury onto the pitch with him, saying: “To be honest my body cringed when I stepped on the pitch for warm-up, it really brought back bad memories of the injury but my goalkeeper coach told me to calm down and forget about the incident. I am not fully fit but I am getting there.
Overcoming Injury and Trauma
Overcoming the trauma of an injury on the football field can be difficult no matter how big a football star you are: injury is often not only physically damaging but psychologically damaging too, and it is important that you take the time to return to the sport as strong as you possibly can, in order to avoid the risk of sustaining an injury again. This means being both physically strong and mentally strong: many footballers who have experienced repeat injuries undergo psychological counselling or therapy, as well and the physical therapy and any other medical treatment that they are required to undergo. It is beneficial that Diakite is playing for a large club such as the Free State Stars , who have a good physiotherapy and injury focused team in place to help its players return to full health as quickly as possible, and to keep them off the pitch for their own safety until that return to full health has been received. However it is clear that Diakite is still receiving treatment for his injuries, spending a lot of time in both training and with a coach who is providing both physical and mental support which should see the star return to his physical fitness peak in no time at all.
Almost as soon as Diakite received his injury back in August 2014, it was clear that the trauma to his knee was serious and would see him out of the game for a significant amount of time. Initial reports when he was carried off the pitch suggested he may be out of the game for a couple of months, but it quickly became clear that the injury he sustained was one severe enough to keep him off the pitch for the full season. It cannot have helped him to forget his injury that his first game post the accident that saw him hurt his knee was played at that same stadium. However he remained on the pitch for the full length of the game, and initial reports of his performance seem to be very positive.
The Future for Diakite
Whether Diakite will return to the first eleven and continue to be played regularly for his club is yet to be seen: he is the first to admit that he isn’t fully fit yet, and that he is still feeling the aftermath of his injury. He sustained his injury during his first ever game for his club too, which cannot help with his confidence levels, or with the confidence that the club has in him. Combined with the fact that Johnny Mathole has been doing a great job in goal in Diakite’s absence and that Glenn Verbauwhede and Ayanda Mtshali are both other great keepers that are being held in reserve for the team, only time will tell what place Diakite will have in the team and how often we will see him take to the pitch again this season.