Former Bafana doctor slams PSL’s June target date
Ntlopi Mogoru insists on a more realistic assessment of the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on SA soccer
Former Bafana Bafana medical doctor Ntlopi Mogoru has warned that it is unrealistic for Premier Soccer League (PSL) bosses to say the coronavirus-affected season could be completed by the end of June.
While the PSL offices will close for the 21-day lockdown declared by President Cyril Ramaphosa‚ acting CEO of the PSL Mato Madlala said on Tuesday they hope to complete the 2019/2020 season by June 30.
Mogoru disagreed with this view and said players’ bodies are going to “shut down” in the coming weeks.
“It is unrealistic to say the league will finish at the end of June‚” Mogoru said in response to Madlala. “They must at least extend it to the end of July because players are going to come back very unfit.”
He continued: “We all know that President Ramaphosa on Tuesday announced a national shutdown of 21 days and this means players will not be able to go to the gym. They will only rely on training programmes they got from the clubs at home as they are not reporting for training [because of] social distancing.
“Because of the shutdown‚ gyms will be closed and some of them [players] don’t have proper training equipment at home.
“To be honest‚ some are not going to follow those programmes the clubs have given them and they are not going to strictly follow the right diets.
“Training at home is not the same as working every day with a dedicated fitness trainer at the club. Some of them are going to eat junk‚ consume too much sugar and drink alcohol.
“Because of all these things that are not ideal for elite sportsmen and women‚ I can guarantee you they won’t be fully fit when they come back.”
Mogoru, who is a sports physician and also studied medical law‚ has extensive experience in football medicine, having worked as team doctor for Bafana under Brazilian coach Carlos Alberto Parreira in the build-up to the 2010 World Cup. He has also worked as a team doctor for Mamelodi Sundowns‚ SuperSport United and Platinum Stars.
Mogoru said the players would need rigorous sessions of at least a month similar to the intensity of preseason training when they return to compensate for the prolonged period away from controlled regimes at their clubs.
“You need a period of at least a month to load players properly so they are at peak physical conditioning to play football at the highest level‚” he said.
“If players are not properly conditioned‚ you are going to get a lot of injuries and the quality of the football is going to be very poor.
“The PSL must just forget about finishing the season by the end of June because you still have the remainder of the Nedbank Cup. Medically it is not going to help the wellbeing of the players, and my suggestion is to extend the season to the end of July.”
Mogoru also warned there are no guarantees that all players will come back healthy from the threat of coronavirus.
“We are assuming that all the players are going to return to full training when the suspension is lifted healthy‚” he said.
“The situation will be exacerbated if one of them returns with symptoms or having contracted the virus‚ which is something we don’t wish on any player.
“If there is an extension to the end of the season‚ it is going to have a negative impact on the start of next season. You must remember that we still have the First Division promotion and relegation play-offs in between.
“In my opinion‚ they must aim for this season to finish at the end of July and to start next season sometime in September.”