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Sundowns coach Mosimane expresses doubts about plan to house 32 PSL teams in massive camp

21 May 2020 - 17:02 By Mahlatse Mphahlele
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane during the clubs 50th anniversary announcements in Sandton on May 21, 2020 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane during the clubs 50th anniversary announcements in Sandton on May 21, 2020 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Forthright Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane has expressed reservations about a proposed plan to accommodate all the topflight and lower tier clubs in a massive camp as a precursor to the restart of the season.

TimesLIVE reported this week that the Premier Soccer League (PSL) is to propose a plan to the government that could see all 32 clubs - the 16 Absa Premiership and the 16 GladAfrica Championship - accommodated in a massive camp in a bid to complete the season that was interrupted by the Covid-19 outbreak in March.

Sun City Resort is viewed as a strong favourite to house the camp but the holiday destination faces stiff opposition from several other facilities‚ including Royal Bafokeng Sport‚ the University of Pretoria’s High Performance Centre and the High Performance Institute of Sport at the University of North West.

The plan will be proposed to government and the matches could be played in July if it is given the green light.

But Mosimane‚ who has never been one to mince his words‚ questioned the practicality of housing 32 teams in one major base camp.

“Maybe you say we should all stay in Sun City‚ I don’t know if we will all stay in Sun City because Sun City hotels have different grades and standards.

"You have the Lost City‚ Cascades‚ Cabanas and other hotels in there‚ so who is going to stay at Cabanas and who is going to stay at the Lost City‚” he said in his trademark forthright manner.

“We will all want the best accommodation. You can do it but you must look at it carefully and say is it easy to do it.

"In terms of controlling people‚ you can do it at Sun City but in terms of accommodation how are you going to say Chiefs is staying at Lost City and Sundowns are staying at the Cabanas?

"How do you come up with that decision‚ you can do it but you are going to create problems. It’s not an easy one but it is possible.

Mosimane‚ who signed a new bumper four-year contract extension at Sundowns on Thursday‚ said Rustenburg may not have enough training grounds to accommodate all topflight and lower tier teams.

“There is a lack of training pitches in Rustenburg.

"When last did you see the Olympic Park Stadium used and how does the pitch look like now?

"Are we all going to play on one pitch at Royal Bafokeng Stadium.”

The outspoken coach insisted that he was not trying to make decisions on behalf of South African football.

“I have to be very careful of what I am saying because I must listen before I talk‚ and who I am to tell SA what to do. The government‚ PSL and Safa are there‚ I have to take the cue. For me Rustenburg has a problem of accommodation and big problems‚" he said.

“Everybody expects the season to be concluded and I think the season can be concluded.

"To be honest a month can conclude the season if we work well and do our things right in terms of precautions and adhering to health regulations. A round of eight games can be done in a month and we can complete but it is not for me to say how and when.

“It is not for me to say we can play behind closed doors. Let’s look at the way the rest of the world is doing‚ we can’t just bring everyone in.

"Germany has been successful for now‚ England have some rebounds now. I don’t know what is happening in China because I don’t have most of the information. Just follow and copy good things

"In Spain‚ which was heavily affected‚ Barca are training.

"Possibly we can start with small groups‚ but before you start with small groups there is a lot of consistent testing and precautions that you have to do with facilities and disinfecting. I am not an expert in that and I must listen to experts.”

Sundowns were four points behind leaders Chiefs when the season was suspended in March.

Sports‚ arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa confirmed this week that the government is considering a plan for a phased-in return of professional sports.

He told a joint parliamentary portfolio committee of sports‚ arts and culture about the discussions on the plan. The phased-in approach will begin with non-contact sports.