In this week’s SportPesa Clubhouse column ambassador, Doctor Khumalo got the ball running for the second half of the season as he touched on some key factors that clubs need to take into consideration regarding this last stretch.
Khumalo pointed out that the going gets tough now with players starting to feel the heat and injuries start to creep in.
“When you look at the number of games played before the Christmas break and the cup competitions, you’ll notice the difference between the first and second round. The first round had two cup competitions, the MTN8 and the Telkom Knockout, whereas the second round will have the Nedbank Cup and CAF competitions. With the Nedbank Cup, any team that gets knocked out in the Last 32 will spend more than two weeks without any competitive games, which will badly affect the momentum.
“These are some of the things to take into consideration as they will determine whether your team wins the league, gets into the Top Eight or gets relegated at the end of the season. Having said that, these aren’t things you need to start worrying about now, no. You have to plan for them before the season starts and plan your periodization accordingly. As much as I have spoken about the possible period of inactivity for teams knocked out of the Nedbank Cup, you also have to consider the fact that all the remaining games have to be played in a short period of five months.
“What effect will that have on the teams? You’ll have injured players, suspensions, loss of form and all that to deal with. Let’s look at Chiefs, for instance, and this has absolutely nothing to do with what happened on the weekend against Sundowns. Itumeleng Khune is out for the remainder of the season, which is a big blow by any means for not only the club but Bafana Bafana as well. All these things jeopardise your tactical and technical approach because it means you don’t have all your players available.
“You also have the congestion of the games to contend with, which is the worst scenario for anyone to find themselves in. There’s not enough time to train when you have five games in 21 days, for instance, otherwise, you’ll have football problems. Remember, there’s also travelling involved in that period, which takes its toll on the players. You also need to readjust your tactical approach every time a certain player is not available for whatever reason. That’s why some teams are struggling but, with the transfer window now open, how many teams have taken advantage of the transfer window? Very few and that’s simply because there’s nothing in the market, which is unfortunate. You can’t bring in someone who will need time to adjust now, you need someone who will walk straight into the team and deliver.”
To read the full SportPesa Clubhouse column, check out this week’s edition of Soccer Laduma, issue 1105.