Coaches concerned over players’ fitness . . . monitoring training during lockdown impossible

Austin Karonga

©️  PREMIERSHIP coaches are concerned that their players are falling behind in terms of fitness levels due to the current coronavirus (Covid-19)-induced lockdown.

Since March 30, Zimbabwe has been under lockdown as health authorities are trying to stop the spread of the novel virus.
The 2020 Castle Lager Premiership season was supposed to have commenced in March but had to be postponed due to the pandemic.
With players unable to attend training due to the lockdown, clubs had provided tailor-made fitness programmes for each individual.
However, due to the lack of resources and equipment, local clubs are not able to monitor if their players are indeed following these laid out training routines.
In other developed leagues, players have been provided with GPS vests and bracelets that enable their clubs’ sports scientists and athletic trainers to monitor in real time the progress they are making while training in quarantine.
Dynamos coach Tonderai Ndiraya believes that the time the players have stayed under lockdown is too much to maintain the same fitness levels they had gained before the outbreak of the pandemic.
“It’s been very difficult for us as coaches and for the teams I must say,” Ndiraya told the Daily News.
“It’s difficult to monitor training from home because we are not really yet advanced in Zimbabwe so to really monitor your players individually from their homes it’s really difficult I tell you.
“But you also understand that we also have some difficult players within a group and it’s those who really would want a push.”
The DeMbare gaffer insists  once teams are allowed to resume training, they would need another pre-season before games can take place.
“This is going to be more than six weeks without any proper training if I want to put it that way and you would really need much more time to recover from this situation and it has not really been easy for us,” he said.
“We just have to adhere to what the government is calling on us to do and in so doing we are losing much more time but I guess you need to be healthier for you to engage in all these activities so there’s really nothing we can do but we would really need much more time to prepare.”
CAPS United coach Darlington Dodo also shared the challenges they are facing to keep their players fit during the lockdown
“Preparations had gone very well since day one in pre-season and when the lockdown was sanctioned by the government, we were nearing the beginning of the season and obviously we were almost there in terms of our pre-season training,” Dodo said.
“So it’s going to be tough when we regroup but by the grace of God, I urge all Zimbabweans to remain safe and always adhere to the prescribed way of living in these difficult times that is sanitising, washing hands regularly and social distancing.”
Highlanders technical manager Mark Harrison, who will be returning to his native England following the mutual suspension of his contract with the club, is certain more time will be needed to get the players in shape when the season finally gets underway.
“It’s not easy to monitor the players when self-isolating at home,” Harrison said.
“We did give them a programme to follow. As professional footballers you would hope that they do that. We did try to use Zoom but obviously you can understand where some of our players live they don’t have WiFi and it’s very difficult to implement it so we had to give that up.
“We have been trying our best but it’s not been easy. I would think most of the players they would push themselves up but there’s only a certain level you push your fitness level up it’s not until you can get back to full time training you can push it to the next level. They gonna have to give the clubs at least I would think five to six weeks to prepare themselves to play again, what happens I don’t know but that’s how I see it.”
Premiership coaches have expressed concern over the fitness level of their players in the current nationwide lockdown.



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