Bellamy steps down as Anderlecht assistant to deal with mental health problems

By Sports Desk September 12, 2021

Anderlecht have announced that Craig Bellamy will leave his role as Vincent Kompany's assistant coach to deal with mental health problems. 

Bellamy, who talked extensively about his long battle with depression last year, had been part of the Anderlecht coaching staff since 2019. 

The 42-year-old has been working as former Manchester City team-mate Kompany's right-hand man since earlier this year, but he will officially step aside on Monday. 

A statement on Anderlecht's website on Sunday read: "Assistant coach Craig Bellamy will leave the coaching staff of RSC Anderlecht on Monday.  

"Bellamy already struggled with mental problems in the past and these have resurfaced again recently.  

"With his departure, the Brit took a very difficult, but absolutely necessary decision concerning his health.  

"Bellamy said goodbye to the players in the dressing room on Sunday afternoon after the 7-2 victory against KV Mechelen." 

Former Wales international Bellamy retired from football in 2014 following a second spell with hometown club Cardiff City. 

He moved into coaching with Cardiff at academy level before departing in January 2019 and taking up a similar position with Anderlecht. 

Following the news of Bellamy's departure, Kompany added: "Craig has long struggled with his mental health. Now the monster is back there.  

"Health is above football. We are obligated to give him the chance to get well." 

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    Regragui was only appointed as Morocco head coach at the end of August.

    Since then, the Atlas Lions are unbeaten, conceding only an own goal against Canada and reaching the quarter-finals at Qatar 2022.

    Regragui's short stint has included an upset win over Belgium and a penalty shoot-out success against highly-fancied Spain in the last 16.

    Morocco are the first Arab team and fourth African side to make the last eight at a World Cup, prompting discussion of interest in Regragui's services.

    But the coach explained the battle he had faced just to get this job, let alone taking over at Manchester City or Barcelona.

    "This question is probably best asked to European clubs: why don't they hire Arab coaches? Maybe it's a cultural question, maybe it's a mentality aspect," he said.

    "Today I think it's impossible Manchester City or Barcelona bring an Arab coach. They don't think about it, as if we're not worthy, as if we're not capable.

    "But there's moments in history that make people change their mind. It's on us, the Arab and African people, to show we are ready."

    Having spent much of his coaching career with clubs in Morocco, Regragui added: "Ten years I am a coach, nobody looked at me. 'No, it is impossible, he does not have the experience. Let's look at somebody else'.

    "I'm in the quarter-final. Explain this miracle.

    "Experience doesn't matter. It's skills. It doesn't matter your background, where you're from; skills matter. If you're not worthy, you don't have the skills, you can leave."

    Perhaps Morocco's style of play could be an obstacle to Regragui's progress, with only Costa Rica (30.2 per cent) having a smaller average share of possession at the tournament than their 32.3 per cent.

    But Regragui made no apologies for Morocco's approach as they stifled Spain, who dominated 76.8 per cent of the play in the previous round but had only one shot on target in 120 minutes.

    Highlighting other examples of Spain – with the highest possession share at the finals (77.0 per cent) – bossing proceedings against elite sides, Regragui wondered if critics would rather Morocco had bravely lost.

    He asked: "Why do Morocco need to keep the ball? Why do African teams need to play very well and lose after and cry?"

    But now, against Portugal in Saturday's quarter-final, Regragui feels huge support for his side.

    "We want to show Africa deserves to be here, Morocco deserves to be here, football is global," he said.

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    Admittedly, things could have been very different had this World Cup taken place in the Northern Hemisphere's summer, as is the norm.

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    Neymar scored one goal and assisted another in a dazzling first half against South Korea that set up a 4-1 last-16 victory. He is the first Brazil player since at least 1966 to both score and assist at three different World Cups.

    The first of those Neymar World Cup goals came back in 2014 against next opponents Croatia, who have not looked capable of stopping a Selecao side in full flow, scraping past Japan only after a penalty shoot-out.

    As in Sao Paulo at Brazil's home World Cup, the stands at Education City Stadium will be decked in yellow for Friday's quarter-final, although many of those present will be supporting Neymar himself as much as his team.

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