Saturday Aug 01, 2020. 12:00
SuperSport United coach Kaitano Tembo says his side will be “70 to 80 percent” ready to resume their 2019-20 campaign later this month.
South Africa’s Premier Soccer League (PSL) has been suspended since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, but competitive football will return next Saturday, 8 August, with the semifinals of the Nedbank Cup, while SuperSport will have their first match back the following Sunday, 16 August, with a league clash at ‘home’ against Bloemfontein Celtic at the Bidvest Stadium.
All of the remaining matches in the 2019-20 season will be played in a bio-safe ‘bubble’ in Gauteng, with teams drawing their home venues from a hat.
United come into the restart placed third on the Absa Premiership log, eight points off the pace of leaders Kaizer Chiefs but having played two games more.
“I think we will probably be about 70 to 80 percent ready by the time we play our first match. We are going to take that match as a preparation match because we have not had time to play friendly matches because of this Covid-19‚” Tembo is quoted by Times Live.
“Confirmation of the restart date by the chairman of the league Dr Khoza is helpful because it allows us as coaches and the players to plan properly. I am not saying things are going to be easy but it definitely makes planning a little bit better when you know when‚ what time and where you are going to play.”
Tembo adds that having little time to train and prepare adds to the difficulty he and the players will face, but he is nonetheless grateful to have football back.
“It is not going to be easy because we only started training as a group a few days ago as we had to observe social distancing rules when we returned to training about a month ago.
“We will only know after the first match where the guys are in terms of match fitness because the reality of the situation is that players are not match fit now.
“We have been training for a few weeks but it was difficult to plan and load players not knowing when we are going to start.
“It was also difficult to push the guys at training in terms of fitness but we are excited that the league is going to resume and we want to thank all the people who worked hard behind the scenes to ensure that we get back to action.”