Coaches brace to start afresh

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Joey Antipas

Coaches have raised concerns over players’ adherence to individual training schedules in the wake of the suspension of team training sessions due to the coronavirus scourge.

BY FORTUNE MBELE

Premier Soccer League (PSL) champions FC Platinum coach Hendrikus Pieter de Jongh said it was for everyone’s health that people should be staying at home to mitigate against the spread of the coronavirus despite being every coach’s wish to have players on the pitch and observe them physically.

“This situation is not good for every team because staff wants players on the pitch training on technical and tactical areas but for now the most important thing is the health of everyone in the world. We have done what we can — give the players individual training programmes. Now what we have to do is monitor the progammes being done at home,” De Jongh said.

The FC Platinum programme involves reporting at Mandava Stadium every two days and says anyone who doesn’t stick to their schedule will be dealt with accordingly.

Chicken Inn gaffer Joey Antipas said it was not easy.

“In the situation that we are in it is difficult due to the lockdown so as coaches assigning players to do individual workouts is a challenge,” he said.

“I set out a programme for my players which consists of running and intermittent breaks and stretching. The only way of monitoring is when they return. All you can hope is they can be professional enough but it’s difficult in the coronavirus pandemic because you are supposed to be in isolation.”

Bulawayo City coach Philani “Beefy” Ncube said coaches should be prepared to start all over again when things revert to normal.

“It’s not easy. We have players who are not professional enough to carry out their duties without supervision,” he said.

“At the same time how do you measure their fitness without competition. You need to measure their technical fitness, tactical aptitude and other things. Maybe for physiological fitness it’s 50-50. There should be a relationship between load and recovery. It is really a challenge. Coaches should be ready to start afresh,” Ncube said.

Hwange coach Bongani Mafu, who also sits on the Zimbabwe Soccer Coaches Association (Zisca) Bulawayo province board, shared similar sentiments.

The former Highlanders coach says it all depends on the professional mentality of the players.

“It now depends on the professional discipline of the players. Dissemination of the training plan and its content is now very easy with the advent of WhatsApp. The higher you go in the league the better the response from players but we still have a few who have not seen the value of their football. These never follow given guidelines. Those who have been out of the country, out of their town to play somewhere far from home seem to respond better and self motivate to work,” Mafu said.

In line with government pronouncements, the PSL indefinitely postponed the start of the league clubs have since suspended training programmes.