By Sikhumbuzo Moyo
Reigning Castle Lager Premier Soccer League Champions FC Platinum have reportedly set spies on their players to ensure they adhere to the 21-day lockdown declared in a bid to contain spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The lockdown is for people to stay at home and not move around unnecessarily during this period, but there is concern among some football administrators that players were not heeding that call and were instead visiting friends and even engaging in untoward behaviour outside their homes.
The Zvishavane-based platinum miners are, however, taking solace that the mining town is small and any player that disregards the lockdown can easily be identified and reported to the club.
“The club has very serious safety and health policy and it’s also aware that not all players are likely to follow given guidelines hence the round the clock surveillance,” said a source.
The covert move was confirmed by head coach Pieter de Jongh, who said they always know what their players are doing at any given time.
“We have people that give us information about the players. They all stay in town and it’s a small town, meaning we see and hear everything that they do,” De Jongh told Chronicle Sport.
Each player has an individual training programme to ensure they maintain a certain level of fitness and body weight.
“When this is over and we resume training, players will be checked to establish their weight and anyone found overweight will be heavily fined. Before the lockdown, we checked each player’s weight and had been doing that every week. The weight scale will not lie to us when the lockdown is over,” said De Jongh.
While FC Platinum players are under a microscopic eye to make sure they do not only adhere to the lockdown orders, but also follow training programmes given to them, Chicken Inn coach Joey Antipas says he can only hope that the players follow individual training programmes they were given.
However, the Warriors’ assistant coach did not hide his feelings on the blow the lockdown has had on their 2020 expectations.
“It’s a massive blow for us, as we were looking forward to kick-off of the season. Although I had given the boys individual training programmes to work on, it’s difficult for them to follow due to the movement ban. It looks like we will start from scratch,” said Antipas.
The same sentiments were echoed by TelOne coach Rahman Gumbo, who also indicated that he had given his boys training programmes to follow, but with limited movement, those instructions would be difficult to follow.
“I gave my players a training programme, but that will now be difficult for them to follow and even road runs will be impossible, as that would mean leaving their homes and risk interacting with other people,” said Gumbo. The Chronicle