JOHANNESBURG | SuperSport United coach Kaitano Tembo says the majority of his players will be about 70 to 80 percent match fit for their first match of the restart of the Absa South African Premiership football season against Bloemfontein Celtic at Bidvest Stadium.
SuperSport host Celtic on Sunday‚ August 16‚ in Matsatsanta’s first match back from the restart.
All teams were drawn new home stadiums as part of the return in the Gauteng bio-safe bubble.
United restart their season sitting third on the Premiership standings with 40 points from 24 matches and a chance of qualifying for the Caf Champions League or the Confederation Cup.
As United stepped up their preparations this week‚ Tembo said they would treat their restart clash against Celtic as a preparation match because they cannot play friendly games.
“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‚” said Tembo‚ who led United to MTN8 victory earlier in the season.
The former Zimbabwean international defender welcomes the announcement this week by chairman of the Premier Soccer League (PSL) Irvin Khoza that the season will resume on August 11.
“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.”
Clubs returned to controlled training some three weeks ago but it was only over the past few days that they were allowed to train as a team.
“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.”
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