Following the resumption of football in Europe, Premier Soccer League outfit Mamelodi Sundowns has approached Spanish giants Barcelona for expert advice on how to return to training after three months without football.
The Tshwane giants took it upon themselves to thoroughly prepare for the season’s resumption by seeking advice from Barcelona’s goalkeeper coach.
The Brazilians team doctor Carl Tabane described the help he got from coach Jon Pascua Ibarrola as “very useful” to them in gaining crucial information on how to rightfully resume training in groups without compromising the health and safety of players and staff.
The Barca coach is a former Sundowns coach who spent five good seasons at Chloorkop before he went to join the La Liga giants.
The Absa Premiership defending champions is among teams that have no confirmed coronavirus cases after most Premier Soccer League (PSL) clubs started testing their players.
“You must remember that this is very new in the whole world. We may have players who are scared of getting infected. Imagine after one match that one player has tested positive, this will send shivers to other players,” Tabane told Sun Sport.
“We use Europe as our yardstick and there were many players and coaches in Europe who tested positive for Covid-19. We talk to our former colleague at Barcelona FC Jon Ibarrola and he is giving us great advice from the best club in the whole world.
“He talks to coach Pitso Mosimane and us about players’ traveling, what happens after training – do the players go home or not? He has also given insights as to how often and frequently to test players and staff.
“He is very useful and still one of us even though he is at the biggest club. So we get information from everywhere so we can continue our quest to defend our league title and try to win the Nedbank Cup.
“What’s on our minds is that the league must be finished and never be declared null and void. That’s why we are working so hard to be ready to fight when we restart.”
Tabane also gave an update on duo Thapelo Morena and Mauricio Affonso revealing that the two are now able to work with the ball, however, they must be cautious with the players when the season resumes.
“They are doing a bit of ball work. We are very happy. We had given Thapelo a timeline of four months and he is now running and playing with the ball – he is a bit ahead,” Tabane continued.
“Affonso is still at home in Uruguay and is feeling no pain and is now comfortable. We won’t throw them back into the deep end until we know they are 100 percent fit to play again.”