Former Bafana Bafana striker George Dearnaley has offered some advice to local football players to use the COVID-19 forced-break to educate themselves and stop playing FIFA games.
The postponement of football activities is likely to drag on for a while if the coronavirus continues to spread across the country as it is at the moment, meaning it could also take a while before players return to normal training.
Clubs have now resorted to giving players individual training programmes until such time that the government gives a directive on when public gatherings will be permitted again.
“Firstly don’t waste the time! Stay fit and healthy, kick a ball. Read up on football tactics and also educate yourself, read up on business, Stop playing FIFA20!!” said Dearnaley in an interview with FARPost.
On the long-term impact that the virus will have on our football, the 51-year-old believes it will be difficult for football fans to return to the stadium post this era.
“I think this will have a major impact on all types of events where you have crowds, not just football. I think some people will stay away from events and prefer to watch on TV. The football industry will have to implement more services at games, possibly screening supporters for symptoms, and providing more medical services at games.
“But I don’t think it will have an effect on competitiveness – teams and players will be looking forward to battling it out with each other as soon as they can play again,” said the former AmaZulu, Hellenic and Seven Stars player.
“Nothing comes close to this. In my playing career we had the start of the HIV/Aids virus, and we had aids testing as part of our medicals, but there was no impact like this,” he said.
On what would be the best decision to take by the Premier Soccer League regarding the way forward, Dearnaley had this to say:
“Personally I put the health of players ahead of completing the season. Every club must ensure their players are safe and healthy. When the medical stats suggest we can play again, then let’s look at a solution, maybe Wednesday and Saturday games to speed up the season and play through June and July,” he added.
After selling his shares at ABC Motsepe League side, Magic FC at the end of last season, Dearnaley is involved with a grassroots coaching program called ‘Football4AllAfrica’ while also empowering himself with some coaching material.
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By Ofhani Munyai