I don’t know players mental strength under Covid-19, says Mosimane
JOHANNESBURG - Mamelodi Sundowns’ coach Pitso Mosimane says it’s been difficult to gauge the mental strength of his players ahead of the proposed restart of the season - under the “new normal”.
After almost a five-month break without competitive football in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) - amid the outbreak of the novel coronavirus - Sundowns will restart their campaign in the Nedbank Cup semi-finals against Wits at Orlando stadium tomorrow (7:15pm kickoff).
Under normal circumstances, all odds would have tipped the Brazilians, who’ve dominated South African football for the last few seasons, to make their second successive domestic cup final - after winning the Telkom Knockout in December.
But such are the complexities and technicalities that comes with the Covid-19 restrictions that even Mosimane, who’ve numerously put his head on the block and backed his players to fight until the end, feels overwhelmed by the expectations that come with the new normal.
Granted that players, technical teams, club and match officials will have their last round of testing for the virus 48 hours before assembling in the bio bubble that will be housed in Gauteng, which is the epicentre of the virus, but there are still concerns about the safety and health of all stakeholders inside the biological safe environment
“Everything is now happening now under the umbrella of football within Covid-19.
“What we used before Covid-19 and worked, now falls out because the programme is different,” said Mosimane in a virtual press conference of the Nedbank Cup semi-finals yesterday.
“The body is totally different. I don’t know about the mind because some players have different mentality about football in this space. You might see there are other players who don’t want to talk, so I don’t know how they’ll react when they have to mark and during set-pieces.
I don’t know their mental strength under Covid-19, I also want to see how it will pan out.”
Since early June, Sundowns have been camping in Rustenburg, trying to ensure that all the safe and health protocols, which include social distancing, have been followed to the tee.
Meanwhile, Bloemfontein Celtic’s new coach John Maduka says they’ll continue with where they left off under his predecessor Lehlohonolo Seema when they clash with Baroka FC in the first semi-final of the day (2pm kick-off) at Orlando tomorrow.
Seema left Phunya Selesele in March to take over the reins at Chippa. But such was his was tactical acumen that he had inspired the financially threatened club to the last four of the Nedbank Cup and ninth-spot on the Premiership standings.