Pitso Mosimane. Picture: GALLO IMAGES
Pitso Mosimane. Picture: GALLO IMAGES

Ready or not, Pitso Mosimane and his Mamelodi Sundowns footballers enter no-man’s land at Orlando Stadium on Saturday when they meet Bidvest Wits in the Nedbank Cup semifinal.

Mosimane‚ in his online media conference ahead of Saturday’s return to football from a five-month suspension due to Covid-19‚ listed niggling injuries caused by unprecedented circumstances and uncertainty about the return date.

“It’s our new normal. The position that we have never been in‚ in our lifetime‚” the Sundowns coach said.

“So for me to tell you‚ ‘We are ready‚ we know what to do‚ we know how we’re going to handle this’ — I’m not brave enough to say that.

“But I can tell you what I know‚ which is that we started training thinking we were starting on July 18. And then we overloaded players and got some injuries.

“Then we thought maybe it was August 1. And then we changed our focus to where we are now‚ which is August 8.

“So you have to understand the preparation was wrong from the very beginning. We were preparing quickly‚ for the games to start in 10 or 12 days from resuming training on July 3.

“The next two days we’ll make an assessment if Ali Meza is available. Anele Ngcongca is not training‚ Ricardo Nascimento and Denis Onyango have got niggling injuries. Then we had the players who could not train because they tested positive for Covid-19.

“There were players who had flu because it’s winter. Mauricio Affonso is stuck in Uruguay. Thapelo Morena is there but we don’t want to risk him yet.”

Mosimane described the strange life of football under Covid-19.

“For any team to have such a long time out‚ then training in small groups is weird‚” he said.

“We have done only one video analysis. And that’s with social distancing. You wait for a certain time because you can’t be in a closed room‚ so we do it outside‚ when there’s no reflection of the sun‚ between 5pm and 6pm.

“And it’s cold then‚ and players can get flu. We did it once and the doctor stopped it.

“You’ve got to understand how strange football is in Covid-19. We don’t have team spirit in the camp.

“We eat within two hours — this one pops in and eats‚ this one goes out. Sometimes you are in the dining hall alone‚ and where are your colleagues you always see?

“There are a lot of things. You can say I’m making excuses. And maybe you don’t want to hear that. Maybe you just want to know if we are ready to play.

“And I can answer that quickly if you want. Really‚ I don’t know. Let’s see in the football under Covid-19 if we’re ready.

“I’ve got my expectations from what I’ve seen of football under Covid-19. So I can presume. We’ll have 11 players on the pitch and we’ll have five subs.

“We’ll have all the protocol of Covid-19 observed‚ and we will play.”

Baroka FC face Bloemfontein Celtic in Saturday’s 2pm semifinal‚ with Sundowns and Wits meeting at 7.15pm.

 

Pitso Mosimane. Picture: GALLO IMAGES
Pitso Mosimane. Picture: GALLO IMAGES

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