football

Dr Thulani Ngwenya (team doctor) of Bafana Bafana during the South African national football team press conference at Crowne Plaza Hotel on November 16, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images)

Football: Safa urges PSL clubs to beef up their medical teams

Each PSL football team is required to employ a qualified COVID-19 compliance officer, as well as outline their plan to ensure the safety of its players and staff.

football

Dr Thulani Ngwenya (team doctor) of Bafana Bafana during the South African national football team press conference at Crowne Plaza Hotel on November 16, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images)

Chief Medical Officer at the South African Football Association (Safa) Dr Thulani Ngwenya has suggested that Premier Soccer League clubs reinforce their medicals teams as soon as possible.

Ngwenya said it would be suicidal for many PSL clubs to move forward with their existing structures and medical staff.

Football prepares for a risky return

Football is set to resume in South Africa on 1 August, pending final government approval. Still, Dr Ngwenya suggested that clubs expand their medical teams in order to meet the standards agreed between the league and the national federation.

Each team is required to employ a qualified COVID-19 compliance officer, as well as outline their plan to ensure the safety of its players and staff.

“This is now the new normal,” Ngwenya told Soccer Laduma. 

“For me, it would be suicidal not to beef up medical teams during these times, because a physio cannot deal with the issues of COVID-19, should there be an issue of COVID at a club or an emer­gency that is caused by COVID-19. So, you need a doctor to be there with the team, and you need a full complement.”

Read: Sundowns’ Pitso cries foul: Teams trained without government approval

The rush to return increases the risks

Dr Ngweperiodd that the short time to prepare for the season will bring with it increased risks.

“Remember we are going to have a short period for teams to train before games, so the issue of period­ization comes in,” Safa’s chief medical officer added. 

“Physios need to be hands-on because of muscle injuries that might come, so a comprehensive medical team will be needed at the clubs.”

The pandemic’s end is not in sight 

Dr Ngwenya said that the challenges posed by the pandemic were not going anywhere in the short term and clubs would be wise to adapt to the times.

Safa believe clubs will need to make adjustments to their budgets to meet the requirements of competing in the bio-bubble, especially considering the new season could well kick-off under the same altered conditions.

“Right now, as clubs also plan for the new season, they should have it in their budgets because COVID-19 is not going anywhere anytime soon. All clubs need to beef up medical teams. It would be suicidal not to focus on that, because before we are athletes, we are human beings, and you need a healthy human being for them to be able to perform,” Dr Ngwenya explained.

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