SA football’s return a strange yet familiar sight

Highlands Park fitness trainer Simone Conley says injuries will occur ‘without a doubt’ as footballers play a high number of games in a short space of time following inactivity since March.

The strangeness of it all was eerily familiar. The masks, sanitising stations, a stadium with no supporters and reserves dotted at a social distance around the stand instead of sitting shoulder-to-shoulder in the technical area have become a familiar sight in football matches owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is how South African football looked, too, when it returned on 8 August at Soweto’s Orlando Stadium in a Nedbank Cup semifinal double header. Bloemfontein Celtic and Mamelodi Sundowns scored three goals each en route to booking their places in the final of the country’s premier cup competition, at the expense of Baroka FC and Bidvest Wits.

The flood of goals – eight in two games – was accompanied by sloppy defending, players cramping and some pulling muscles in the first professional football matches in South Africa in almost 150 days devoid of the beautiful game. “Without a doubt, [muscle injuries] will continue happening,” says Highlands Park fitness trainer Simone Conley in a matter-of-fact tone.

This article was initially published at newframe

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