Baroka coach says his players are far from ready for restart
Team mentor says it will take at least a month for the players to be able to fulfil their potential
Baroka FC coach Dylan Kerr says there is no way his players will be ready to take to the field should the Premier Soccer League (PSL) programme resume at the beginning of August.
Kerr says that while he understands the season must be completed‚ his players are far from match fit and will not last the full 90 minutes on the pitch.
“My players are not ready yet, and they are not going to be ready to fulfil the potential that I know they can for at least a month‚” said Kerr.
“As a coach, it is frustrating because you have a little time to try and get the players to a level of fitness where you know they can play for 90 minutes in a competitive PSL match. It is very difficult for a coach to manage this.”
The first weekend of August has been suggested for domestic football’s likely return, with the semifinals of the Nedbank Cup pencilled in to get things under way. Baroka were drawn against Bloemfontein Celtic while Sundowns were to face Bidvest Wits when the semifinal draw was made on March 15.
Kerr said that should the clubs be asked to resume matches in coming weeks‚ they would have to honour their fixtures. But he said he was concerned about the safety of the players.
“We will have no option but to go and play. But is it going to benefit my club? No. I don’t know what Bloemfontein Celtic have been doing. I don’t know if they [Celtic] trained the same time as us or they trained earlier than us.
“After nearly five months of no competitive football‚ it’s not like you can just switch it on and we are back.
“On Monday, we did a training session, which was very intensive. I reckon that only eight out of 27 players are OK. The rest are not at that level yet, and it’s going to be tough‚ but I take the responsibility for managing these players,” Kerr said.
“I am getting advice from clubs in the Championship and Premier League in England on how they did it. I am worried about injuries.”
Chippa United coach Lehlohonolo Seema echoed Kerr’s sentiments, saying the situation was not ideal, given that he was working with new players after joining the side recently.
“It is not easy to plan when you don’t know when you are going to play‚” he said.
“We are working in separate groups, and it’s challenging. But we have to adapt as coaches to make sure that we try to get the best out of the guys.
“We will have to try to make sure the fitness foundation is there so they can handle the conditions of competitive matches‚ and I think the five substitutions will also help. Whether we are ready or not‚ we will only see when the games start.”
Black Leopards coach Alan Clark said the situation was difficult for everyone, but they would have to be ready for the restart.
“You don’t generally have this long out in football, but it is a new situation and we must adapt.
“It is difficult for everyone. As coaches, we have to learn to be adaptable to different situations at training‚ in the game and in life in general. I am a coach who likes to plan and have things in place, unlike doing things off the cuff.”
Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments?
Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.