Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Pitso Mosimane says only the four teams who were in the Nedbank Cup semi-finals can talk about football amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Photo Copyright – Steve Haag Sports
Saturday’s games often featured some sluggish play and a string of muscle injuries as players attempted to cope with the fact that they haven’t been playing competitive football since March.
Mosimane admits it’s a whole new ball game to deal with the lack of match fitness among players, and says Sundowns, Wits, Celtic, and Baroka are the only ones who know what it’s like.
“In the game of Bloem Celtic and Baroka we saw massive injuries. In our game we also had massive injuries and ‘Tso’ [Siphelele Mkhulise] could not finish. ‘Mshishi’ [Themba Zwane]‚ who always finishes a game could not finish,” Mosimane told the press via a Zoom conference call.
“[Sibusiso] Vilakazi‚ who always is in good condition‚ could not finish. Rivaldo [Coetzee] was supposed to be out. And we were preparing Wayne Arendse and Tiyani Mabunda to come on‚ because she could not cope. And I don’t know if he can play on Tuesday.
“That’s football under Covid-19. Players are not ready. You could see that.”
“Ja football inside Covid-19 – we know it now. We can now comment about it. But if you haven’t played you can’t comment about it‚” he added.
“Because if you haven’t suffered a muscle injury like the one we have got with Mkhulise‚ and Rivaldo was on the bench [at the end]‚ you don’t understand.
“… Only four teams can talk about football in Covid-19. Those who haven’t played‚ they can’t comment. They must comment after. It’s a difficult space.
“Yes‚ we’ve got a bit of information ahead of Orlando Pirates‚ to be honest. We can say we have a bit of an advantage because we know.
“I don’t know how many times I asked the fourth official‚ or the bench‚ do I still have a substitution to make? They said yes you have‚ but you only have two to go because you’ve already made three.
“It’s confusing. The half time doesn’t count as a substitute [opportunity]. And I kept asking [PSL senior manager] Lux [September] – ‘Hey Lux‚ explain this thing to me’.
“So it’s really difficult. And you might know the rules‚ but once you are under stress and pressure there‚ everything goes out of your mind. And that’s football under Covid-19.”