Leaders Chiefs hope to be able to pick up where they left off when the season resumes

Kaizer Chiefs team during the Kaizer Chiefs media open day at Kaizer Chiefs Village on April 18, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Kaizer Chiefs team during the Kaizer Chiefs media open day at Kaizer Chiefs Village on April 18, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

Kaizer Chiefs’ technical team are utilising internet video communication platforms not just to keep the league leaders on a mental high‚ but to do detailed tactical analysis‚ in an attempt to ensure Amakhosi come back on a high and clinch the Absa Premiership title.

No South African league-leading team has ever had to experience the competition shut down in the final third of the season due to a global pandemic.

Chiefs‚ four points ahead of defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns‚ have the most to lose when a league title seems crucial for the great club in their 50th anniversary season‚ attempting to reverse four campaigns without silverware‚ should they be derailed by the three-week lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Amakhosi’s head of sports science Jarred Marsh said apart from the programme the players have been put on to maintain fitness levels‚ there are also tactical sessions and detailed video analysis to be studied.

“Most teams who have a bit of momentum and have a cessation in the league generally do have a bit of a rough start getting back‚” Marsh admitted to TimesLIVE.

“What we need to focus on is obviously we’ve got a team of guys who know how to win. We started off strong at the start of the season and we’ve been able to maintain that lead throughout the season.

“I think the technical team have done a really good job motivating the players. We’ve put programmes in place now – video sessions working remotely‚ tactical analysis working on our strengths and weaknesses – to make sure that when we do start the season again the players are able to pick up where we left off and get these last required points to lift the title.”

Marsh said the speed of the implementation of the government’s national lockdown had made it difficult for Chiefs to distribute the ideal equipment to the players for home fitness training.

“We battled to try and get things off the ground on a larger scale. That’s why we gave the guys basic things like power bands and mats as quickly as we could‚” he said.

“We had a few days before lockdown where the guys were at home. We decided to send them home kind of as a preventative measure.

“It was a bit short notice but we were able to give the guys some basic equipment to take home like foam rollers‚ mats‚ power bands.

“A few of the guys who were on rehab programmes are continuing those to make sure they are up and running when we do get back to the training field.

“Twice a week we do our Zoom sessions. There are three groups to make it a bit more manageable.

“I take one group. Tinus van Rensburg‚ also one of our first team sports scientists‚ takes another group. Lee Baxter takes the goalkeepers and some of the defenders.

“We can watch what they are doing and make sure they’re doing them correctly.”

Marsh said the team training sessions on Zoom.us help maintain the social aspect for players used to being highly socialised and attending daily training sessions.

Chiefs’ fitness sessions incorporate body weight work‚ core work‚ band work and yoga. Players have targets to fulfill within the confines and unique dimensions of their unique home environments.