Zimbabwe’s CAF Champions League representatives FC Platinum go into their campaign next month without gauging their readiness in a real match situation.
The Castle Premiership champions’ coach Hendrikus Pieter De Jongh says his players need at least six weeks of consistent training before playing any competitive games.
The Zimbabwean League traditionally runs between March and November and is yet to start this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic. However, the government last week gave a green light for the return of football. The development means clubs may resume training.
“It’s difficult for us to secure opponents to play friendly games against. Given that we had gone for over seven months without both group training and competition, we would have wanted to play at least two friendly matches before our first game in the CAF Champions League. It’s very unfortunate we will have to train ourselves how to compete without a chance to even assess ourselves in a real game situation,” De Jongh said.
The Dutch coach said it was good news that football has been allowed to return, but noted they were fully aware of the fact that teams need to train for a lengthy period before engaging in competitive contests. “In this case, it means we are left with no option than to train ourselves on how to compete,” added the Dutch coach.
He admits the Zvishavane-based club is far behind other countries who have running leagues. The club’s captain, Gift Bello, said they were slowly adjusting to training after seven months of inactivity.
“The mood in the camp is encouraging and the boys are out to defy the odds. It has been very difficult for us, as individuals, and as a group, during the lockdown. We are not used to the long dry spell.
“We used to complain about the speed at which fixtures were coming at us — the league, Champions League and cup games, all that,” said Bello. He added that it was mentally stressful and physically difficult to go for so long without football.
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By FARPost Reporter