Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane has expressed reservations about a proposed plan to accommodate all the top-flight and second-tier clubs in a huge camp as a precursor to the restart of the season.
Business Day reported earlier this week that the Premier Soccer League (PSL) is to propose a plan to the government that could see all 32 clubs — the 16 Premiership and the 16 National First Division — accommodated in a camp in a bid to complete the season that was interrupted by the Covid-19 outbreak in March.
Sun City Resort is viewed as a strong favourite to house the camp but the holiday destination faces stiff competition from several other facilities, including Royal Bafokeng Sport‚ the University of Pretoria’s High Performance Centre and the High Performance Institute of Sport at North-West University.
The plan will be proposed to the government and the matches could be played in July if given the green light.
But Mosimane, who has never been one to mince his words, questioned the practicality of housing 32 teams in one major base camp.
He pointed out that accommodation at Sun City has various grades and standards.
“You have the Lost City, Cascades, Cabanas and other hotels in there, so who is going to stay at Cabanas and who is going to stay at the Lost City?” he said.
“We will all want the best accommodation. You can do it, but you must look at it carefully and say, is it easy to do it.
“In terms of controlling people, you can do it at Sun City, but in terms of accommodation, how are you going to say Chiefs is staying at Lost City and Sundowns are staying at the Cabanas?
Mosimane, who signed a new four-year contract at Sundowns on Thursday, said Rustenburg may not have enough training grounds to accommodate all top-flight and lower-tier teams.
“There is a lack of training pitches in Rustenburg. When last did you see the Olympic Park stadium used and how does the pitch look now?
“Are we all going to play on one pitch at Royal Bafokeng Stadium?”
The outspoken coach insisted he was not trying to make decisions on behalf of the SA Football Association (Safa).
“I have to be very careful of what I am saying … who am I to tell SA what to do? The government, PSL and Safa are there, I have to take the cue.
“For me, Rustenburg has a problem of accommodation and big problems,” he said.
“Everybody expects the season to be concluded, and I think it can be. To be honest, a month can conclude the season if we work well and do our things right in terms of precautions and adhering to health regulations. A round of eight games can be done in a month.
“It is not for me to say we can play behind closed doors. Let’s look at the way the rest of the world is doing it.
“Germany has been successful for now, England have some rebounds. In Spain, which was heavily affected, Barca are training.
“Possibly we can start with small groups, but there is a lot of consistent testing and precautions that you have to do with facilities and disinfecting.”
Sports, arts & culture minister Nathi Mthethwa confirmed this week that the government is considering a plan for a phased return of professional sports.
He told a joint parliamentary portfolio committee of sports, arts and culture about discussions on the plan. The phased approach will begin with non-contact sports.