A sports physician has called for the resumption of the 20019/20 PSL season.
Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, which brought football leagues all over the world to a halt, football followers have been enduring a drought. The PSL is yet to decide whether to declare the season null and void or to award the league title to current log leaders Kaizer Chiefs or to resume the league.
While there’s a wait, Dr Mahlane Phalane, a former Sports Physician at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria, says the league can resume with adequate precautionary measures. Phalane believes the PSL can resume the league but it should be done cautiously.
“The resumption and completion of the PSL will go a long way to lift the mood of the nation, provide desperately needed entertainment during this gloomy period; it will go a long way to improve the physical, psychological and financial well-being of players,” said Phalane.
“Strict preventative measures should be adhered to; adequate personal protective equipment for everyone, even players and officials on the bench should wear face masks, gloves and use sanitizers. No sharing of water bottles, each player and official to have their own water bottles.”
Phalane, who was the Chief Medical Officer for Western Cape and Gauteng at the National School Championships, suggests that all PSL teams (players and officials) should camp in one place to ensure that there are no infections.
“Move all PSL teams to a central place, Gauteng is a natural choice with its world class sporting facilities, accommodation, and six of the 16 PSL teams are already based in Gauteng, 3 from neighbouring Limpopo,” he said.
Phalane, who runs a spa and lifestyle clinic – MapeloMed in Pretoria, has made recommendations for the resumption of the PSL. According to Phalane, the following measures should be refined and implemented to resume the local Premier Soccer League:
- Test all role players for COVID-19; footballers, club officials, technical teams, media, stadium support staff, and participating frontline workers responsible for enforcing the lockdown regulations.
- Move all PSL teams to a central place, Gauteng is a natural choice with its world class sporting facilities, accommodation, and six of the 16 PSL teams are already based in Gauteng, 3 from neighbouring Limpopo.
- Each team to be quarantined for two weeks, while preparing for the resumption of the PSL. All match officials, support staff such as bus drivers, kit managers, catering teams, medical teams, media personnel and everyone involved to also be quarantined at the same time for two weeks.
- The first two weeks will be non-contact training to ensure social distancing is maintained.
- Resume the games on day 21 after the players and all role players have been re-tested on Day 14 (not screened), and the tests results are negative. The period between Day 15 and Day 20 will be used for intense training.
- Incorporate the Nedbank Cup into this programme.
- Strict movement restrictions; teams are not to mix with any outsiders until the end of the season.
- Games to be played behind closed doors, with no supporters and adhere to the gathering regulations.
- Adopt the same model for the GladAfrica Championship. COVID-19 gives us an opportunity to increase the playing opportunities for many young aspiring footballers.
- The leagues should be completed by July 2020.
- Give all players and role players flu vaccine; this will be an added benefit to protect them against seasonal flu.
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By Hosea Ramphekwa