'We train as per normal': SA star Dino Ndlovu on life in China

08 April 2020 - 14:41 By Tiisetso Malepa
Dino Ndlovu has a quite time at the Shepherd's Tree Game Lodge in the Pilanesberg National Park while on holiday back in South Africa.
Dino Ndlovu has a quite time at the Shepherd's Tree Game Lodge in the Pilanesberg National Park while on holiday back in South Africa.
Image: Dino Ndlovu/Twitter

While athletes around the world continue to twiddle their thumbs at home under lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak‚ South African footballer Dino Ndlovu has returned to full training with his team in China.

After fleeing the Asian nation in the beginning of the year as the coronavirus ripped it apart‚ Chinese clubs returned home in mid-March when the country appeared to be containing the spread of the virus.

While South African athletes and footballers sit idle under lockdown at home with limited space for training and exercise‚ Ndlovu’s club Zhejiang Greentown FC are three weeks into their pre-season training.

The burly striker told TimesLIVE from his Hangzhou home that he is a week into optimum intensity training with his club.

Dino Ndlovu (R) takes part in a Bafana Bafana training session at FNB Stadium in Soweto, south west of Johannesburg, on October 11 2018.
Dino Ndlovu (R) takes part in a Bafana Bafana training session at FNB Stadium in Soweto, south west of Johannesburg, on October 11 2018.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

The 30-year-old Klersdorp-born player said the Chinese clubs are planning their April sessions on the assumption that the league will start at the end of May.

“We don’t know yet when the league is going to kick off but we think beginning of June‚” Ndlovu tells TimesLIVE.

The Chinese season was scheduled to start in February but was scuppered by the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

“My team started training exactly after their lockdown (in mid March) because when they came back to China from Turkey (on a pre-season camp)‚ they went under a 14-day quarantine.

“So it’s been three weeks now since my club started training‚” said the former Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United striker.

“So for me it’s been a few days since I started training with my team. It’s okay and I can’t complain.”

Ndlovu only joined his teammates at training at the weekend having just finished his quarantine himself. He had to self-isolate upon his return to China from South Africa on March 21.

He said his club has put in place strict measures at their training base. Their sessions are intense and there is no fear among players‚ said Ndlovu.

“Look‚ no one in our team has the virus and we train as per normal‚” Ndlovu tells TimesLIVE‚ adding that players are regularly screened and tested.

“The playing and non-playing staff are tested after every seven days.

“Training sessions are the same. We don’t do social distancing. The only thing we do is basic pre-cautionary steps that are implemented within the training base.”

Dino Ndlovu (L) gesturing during the Chinese Super League (CSL) football match between his club Zhejiang Greentown and Beijing BG in Hangzhou in China's eastern Zhejiang province. File photo
Dino Ndlovu (L) gesturing during the Chinese Super League (CSL) football match between his club Zhejiang Greentown and Beijing BG in Hangzhou in China's eastern Zhejiang province. File photo
Image: STR / AFP

Ndlovu said being confined at his home was not a slog as he is used to spending time indoors in any case when he is not in camp or at the training grounds.

“Look‚ the 14 day lockdown was easy for me because I’m used to staying at home. The only routine that changed was only to train indoors‚ but all in all it was not that bad for me

“I was at the City on Sunday and Monday to buy stuff for my house‚ groceries and things like that‚” added Ndlovu.

Some 1‚5 million infections and 80‚000 deaths have been reported worldwide.

The world sporting calendar has been shred into pieces with tournaments and events around the globe being cancelled or rescheduled due to the coronavirus outbreak.


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