Highlands Park coach Owen da Gama ‘sure the PSL will make the right call’
Highlands Park coach Owen Da Gama says he is sure the government and the Premier Soccer League (PSL) will “make the right call” on the immediate future of domestic football matches given the global coronavirus pandemic.
The PSL executive committee (exco) have an urgent meeting at noon on Monday to discuss the measures announced as President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a national emergency on Sunday.
A notable precaution declared by Ramaphosa that will affect all professional sport was a prohibition on gatherings of 100 or more.
The PSL appear sure to announce at least that matches be played in front of closed doors‚ or at most a suspension of football.
Da Gama was asked after his team’s 1-0 extra-time Nedbank Cup quarterfinal defeat against Mamelodi Sundowns at a packed Makhulong Stadium on Saturday what he felt the best move should be for domestic professional football give the coronavirus outbreak.
“Look‚ I don’t know enough about that. But I think once it goes from an epidemic to a pandemic it becomes a problem. I think the authorities will sit down and take note of that‚ and take a decision‚” Highlands’ coach said.
“I’m becoming very paranoid‚ to be honest with you. I mean I feel it for the crowd‚ I feel it for everybody.
“But I’m sure the authorities will really look at it deeply and make the right call.”
Most immediately‚ the PSL will have to decide if their two big title-influencing Absa Premiership matches this week go ahead‚ or are played in closed stadiums.
Second-placed defending champions Sundowns are scheduled to meet third-placed Orlando Pirates at Loftus Versfeld on Tuesday night.
League leaders Kaizer Chiefs set to meet sixth-placed title outsiders Bidvest Wits at FNB Stadium on Wednesday night.
The PSL said they would make an announcement on the outcome of their exco meeting either on Monday afternoon‚ or on Tuesday.
Internationally football leagues and major sporting events and competitions – including Super Rugby on Sunday – have been suspended over the novel coronavirus.
Reported cases of the virus in South Africa were at 61 on Sunday‚ and over 160‚000 infected with more than 6‚000 deaths globally.