Absa Premiership

Pitso Mosimane highlights concerns over 'strange' PSL restart ahead of Wits blockbuster

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Pitso Mosimane (Gallo Images)
Pitso Mosimane (Gallo Images)
  • Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane says the "new normal" has been difficult to adjust to ahead of the PSL restart.
  • Mosimane also confirms that some players have picked up injuries in an effort to get ready for the first game.
  • Despite all the challenges, Mosimane feels that the eleven he chooses to play in the Nedbank Cup semi-final against Wits will be ready.

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane has raised concerns over the restart of top-flight football in South Africa as he attempts to ready his charges for their Nedbank Cup semi-final clash against Bidvest Wits.

The two Absa Premiership giants meet on Saturday, 8 August at Orlando Stadium in the Biologically Safe Environment (BSE) situated in the Gauteng region.

'Jingles', as he is affectionately known, said in a virtual press conference ahead of the fixture that the return date uncertainty had played a huge role in getting players mentally ready for the resumption while he also confirmed that some players had picked up niggling injuries.

"It's our new normal ... a position that we have never been in‚ in our lifetime‚" Mosimane said.

"So for me to tell you‚ 'We are ready‚ we know what to do‚ we know how we're going to handle this' - I'm not brave enough to say that.

"But I can tell you what I know‚ which is that we started training thinking we were starting on July 18. And then we overloaded players and got some injuries.

"Then we thought maybe it was August 1. And then we changed our focus to where we are now‚ which is August 8.

"So you have to understand the preparation was wrong from the very beginning. We were preparing quickly‚ for the games to start in 10 or 12 days from resuming training on July 3.

"The next two days we'll make an assessment if Ali Meza is available. Anele Ngcongca is not training‚ Ricardo Nascimento and Denis Onyango have got niggling injuries. Then we had the players who could not train because they tested positive for Covid-19.

"There were players who had flu because it's winter. Mauricio Affonso is stuck in Uruguay. Thapelo Morena is there but we don’t want to risk him yet."

Mosimane then details the circumstances that the club, including himself, has had to undergo during the restricted Covid-19 measures.

"For any team to have such a long time out‚ then training in small groups is weird‚" Mosimane continued.

"We have done only one video analysis. And that's with social distancing. You wait for a certain time because you can't be in a closed room‚ so we do it outside‚ when there’s no reflection from the sun‚ between 17:00 and 18:00.

"And it's cold then‚ and players can get flu. We did it once and the doctor stopped it. 

"You've got to understand how strange football is in Covid-19. We don't have team spirit in the camp.

"We eat within two hours - this one pops in and eats‚ this one goes out. Sometimes you are in the dining hall alone‚ and where are your colleagues you always see?

"There are a lot of things. You can say I'm making excuses. And maybe you don't want to hear that. Maybe you just want to know if we are ready to play.

"And I can answer that quickly if you want. Really‚ I don't know. Let’s see in the football under Covid-19 if we're ready."

He added: "I've got my expectations from what I've seen of football under Covid-19. So, I can presume we'll have 11 players on the pitch and we'll have five subs.

"We'll have all the protocol of Covid-19 observed‚ and we will play."

Bloemfontein Celtic will clash against Baroka FC in the first semi-final at 14:00 on Saturday with Sundowns taking on Wits later in the evening at 19:15.