Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane has lifted the lid on what it has been like to return to training with COVID-19 measures in place.
Mamelodi Sundowns are preparing for the re-start of the Absa Premiership, but coach Pitso Mosimane admits it has not been quite business as usual as they train under new regulations that are meant to keep everybody involved separated as much as possible.
He admits that with football being a contact sport, it has taken some adaptation to get used to the new way of training.
“It has not been easy, it is a new life,” The club coach said.
“But we are supposed to have this new life as normal life now. It is difficult because we walk around with masks and can’t breathe easily, but we have to observe the health issues and be an example.”
“We just met here, it is a bit strange. When we meet, we always usually greet each other and hug each other. It has been three months that we have not seen each other, but the funny part of it, now we meet on the WhatsApp group.”
“Everybody just comes in, gets their room key, and heads straight to their room. Because the rules that have been put in place by the doctors mean no hanging around, no loitering [with each other].”
“So we speak to players, ‘ask how are you, are you back?’, through the WhatsApp group, or through the phone from room to room. It is a strange feeling, but it is how the situation is, we have to respect COVID-19 and understand the situation as it is.”
Coach Pitso Mosimane says that the initial part of training means that players must still be separated, and activities only conducted in small groups.
“Difficult training, a different type of training, small groups of fours. It takes more time, it demands a lot, it is expensive to make sure we have the equipment – sanitisers, the disinfection of balls, bibs.”
“We knew what it would be like, but when you face it, it is something else. Everybody has their own basket with boots, kit, sanitiser, mask … we don’t sit together as usual.”
“When you arrive for the training session, you have your station and you stay there. You put your basket there and you change into your equipment. That is your place. When you want to drink you must go back to your station. You must collect your own water or Energade.”
“It is a non-contact training session. That means it is not easy to address the tactical side of the game.”
“It is frustrating not to be able to be face-to-face with the players and hug, only being able to give instructions from a distance. We are usually emotional people, we show love to our players by actions, not just by words.”
Mamelodi Sundowns are four points behind leaders Kaizer Chiefs, but have a game in hand with nine left in their league season.