BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
DYNAMOS coach Tonderai Ndiraya believes the Premier Soccer League (PSL) should give clubs another pre-season preparation period equivalent to the time lost when the lockdown started.
The Harare giants coach said clubs had failed to safeguard the fitness levels their players had gained before the lockdown under which players are only limited to individual training at home.
Ndiraya said the players’ fitness levels had reached nearly 100% by the time the lockdown was announced, but they are now down to about 30%.
He reasoned that at such fitness levels it means they have to start pre-season preparation from scratch and would need the equivalent of the time lost because of the lockdown to prepare for the campaign should the authorities approve the resumption of the league programme.
The Dynamos gaffer said generally, pre-season took between six and eight weeks and given that they had lost so much time due to the lockdown, expectations were that the PSL would give clubs the time equivalent to that lost due to the lockdown to prepare.
His proposals would mean that even if football were to be given the green light to resume, it would take another two months for the league to start.
“The problem right now is that the fitness levels our players had gained has gone down to around 30% because of the continued lockdown and that means we will have to start almost from scratch when the authorities finally approve the start of football activities. I personally think they (PSL) should give us time to prepare which is equivalent to what we will have lost. Generally, pre-season takes about six to eight weeks and once the PSL announces the dates for the start of the league programme they will know what time to set aside for preparations. The truth is that we are likely to start almost afresh,” Ndiraya said.
The PSL season was expected to kick off early April but the coronavirus-induced restrictions have made it impossible and the Zifa leadership has tentatively set August or September as the period for the league season to commence.
Once the government allows gatherings to resume, the PSL season is expected to announce the actual dates of the start of the league programme.
However, with President Emmerson Mnangagwa having announced an indefinite extension of the lockdown, while partially easing restrictions on Saturday, the August/September dates tentatively set by Zifa might not be a possibility.
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