Ben Motshwari, left, of Orlando Pirates has tested positive for the coronavirus. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)
Ben Motshwari, left, of Orlando Pirates has tested positive for the coronavirus. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

PSL player camp is the only way to go

By Mihlali Baleka Time of article published May 18, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG - Sports doctor Mahlane Phalane says the proposed PSL player camp, which would serve as a base for all 32 teams in the league, is the only safe approach to take if the South African soccer season is to be completed.

Media reports indicated yesterday that the PSL is “proposing a massive single camp for all soccer clubs in a bid to complete the 2019-20 season” that is currently halted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We’ve proposed that as the brainchild. We’ve sent the proposal to Safa and the PSL as they are the controlling bodies of football in the country. They’ve now constituted a joint task team to deal with that, but for our part, the medical and scientific side, we’ve made that proposal to them,” said Phalane, the mastermind behind the camp plan.

With the camp bound to be in pristine environmental condition to cater for the safety of everyone, there are a set of guidelines that players, coaches and everyone involved would need to adhere to.

These would include arrival and access to the base, measures regarding behaviour on the base, and what happens if a person on the base tests positive for Covid-19.

It is believed that Safa and the PSL went over Phalane’s proposal when their joint liaison committee (JLC) met early last week to discuss when it would be safe to resume football.

Mother body Safa had suggested it will be safe for all football activities to resume on lockdown level 1. The PSL, though, are keen on restarting their domestic season in the Absa Premiership and GladAfrica Championship on level 3.

However, according to Phalane, going the route of forming a camp will create a safe stage that is even below level 1.

“We are saying in the proposal that if the rules and regulations in the proposal were to be followed to a T, we’ll be creating a situation whereby all the participants in football will actually be on level 1 or below,” he explained.

With the JLC having selected a task team of three members from both Safa and the PSL to come up with a unanimous decision within 14 days on how and when football should resume, Phalane’s recommendations are yet to get the green light.

However, should the JLC agree to the national camp as proposed by Phalane, the 16 teams from the PSL and 16 from the NFD will be based in Gauteng considering it’s the harbour of everything and has some of the best infrastructure. Phalane says it will take at least 21 days to check that everyone is biologically safe regarding quarantining and testing.

“In our proposal, it will take approximately 21 days before we can resume football. This comes from a number of reasons. Firstly, we’ll check the biological side of a person where we are saying the players should be in self-isolation for 14 days. We all know what happened at Pirates (where midfielder Ben Motshwari tested positive for Covid-19),” Phalane explained.

“During the 14 days, we’ll also be aware of their physical fitness, considering there might be challenges here and there because they’ve been off for months. After 14 days, and on day 21, we’ll then test them again and that’s when we’ll be able to put them in a camp, but with restricted measures.”


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