Rhulani Mokwena. Picture: ANESH DEBIKY / GALLO IMAGES
Rhulani Mokwena. Picture: ANESH DEBIKY / GALLO IMAGES

The sports science‚ conditioning and high performance personnel at Mamelodi Sundowns are working overtime as they attempt to manage the players in the midst of the premiership leaders’ relentless domestic and continental programme.

So taxing is their schedule that the Brazilians will be playing  their fifth match in 12 days when they take on second-placed AmaZulu in a top-of-the-table  Premier Soccer League (PSL) match at Kings Park Stadium on Wednesday.

Since April 9 Sundowns have played against CR Belouizdad of Algeria‚ Chippa United‚ Orlando Pirates and Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM), and co-coach Rhulani Mokwena says their programme is punishing.

AmaZulu‚ on the other hand‚ last played a competitive match the day Sundowns began this five-match period against CR Belouizdad.

“It’s not always easy. Maybe what we must do is to put the players in a fridge‚ but unfortunately it is not possible to do that‚” said Mokwena.

“This means we have to try to manage them because scientifically the human body can only go through overloads of physical overload twice in seven days. There is a 48-hour period between the overloads and this is scientifically impossible‚ but we are trying our level best to manage the situation.

“We are trying to navigate the possibilities of not getting ourselves into fatigue levels that could induce muscular problems.”

Mokwena said there is little they can do about their programme but to keep fighting.

“They don’t complain but just continue to fight on and do the best for the club. I am sure the supporters of the club‚ the president [Patrice Motsepe] and the rest of the people who are closely associated with the club appreciate their efforts.

“We have a good sports science‚ conditioning and high performance personnel who are doing very well do manage the situation. We have to do what we can and try to manipulate the programme.”

Sundowns go into this match on the back of a shock Nedbank Cup semifinal defeat to TTM last weekend, but Mokwena said the show must continue.

“There is no budget for pity parties; we can’t be sobbing and waiting for people to feel sorry for us. We are Mamelodi Sundowns and we must show character by bouncing back from a difficult result.

“We are faced with a very important game and we have said that all these games are cup finals. It hasn’t been easy to prepare for this match after the result against TTM‚ but we have to dust ourselves off and show mental resolve by digging deep.”

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