Stellenbosch FC players ‘in wilderness’ as teams await PSL return
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Stellenbosch FC’s high performance manager Ruan Rust says the role of the team’s health-care personnel will be crucial as the PSL plots the return of competitive football.
Ruan Rust said that health-care personnel like trainers, conditioning coaches and physios will need to keep a hawk-eye on players like never before.
“We will be going into a period that has never occurred before. Generally, footballers will have four to six weeks during the off-season, and in that off-season still can train, run, play football socially and so on,” said Rust.
“Now with lockdown, these liberties have been taken away from them. Instead, we will have players who have been in the wilderness for close to three months. Generally speaking, for every week that a player is off, we allow ourselves one week of preparation, as in the case of a typical pre-season.
“These are not typical times, and the players are not in a typical state. Hence we will have to keep a close eye on the players’ physical state and their response to training.”
Rust said Stellies were well equipped with their highly specialised coaching staff and trainers who are capable of providing thorough testing regimens to evaluate the players’ mental and physical health.
“It has been challenging for all the personnel involved in this process. The staff and players have all been learning as it comes. We are lucky that we share daily conversations with players,” said Rust. “We regularly provide players with educational infographics, videos and other media.
“Educating our players about what is allowed and not allowed was a priority for us. It will help to ensure that players have the lowest possible risk of infection.
“Our players have been excellent in applying themselves to the regulations and protocols. There are daily wellness questionnaires that are fed into our athlete monitoring platform. This process allows us to keep a close eye on players’ physical training status and their physical wellness.”
Given the easing of national lockdown restrictions of late, it is likely that teams may start training in the next few days.
“We are waiting for the official green light to return to training. Now our primary focus is to implement the procedures and protocols ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our players and staff,” said Rust. “Once the club have been cleared by the PSL and the relevant medical testing has been done, we will be undertaking a screening process with the players to gauge their physical profile.
“This screening in conjunction with training guidelines provided by the PSL will guide the outcomes of our training.”
Away from football matters, Stellenbosch have done a sterling job by supplying needy communities with more than 2 000 meals daily. Stellenbosch management member Jose Cabral co-ordinated the campaign.
“Jose Cabral and his team have done an exceptional job and they deserve accolades,” said Rust.
“Their work in our communities, in my opinion, has been setting the trend for others. We have had players regularly participating.”