The Premiership season must be played to its conclusion‚ says Da Gama

Owen Da Gama says the season must be completed even if it means playing into August and September.
Owen Da Gama says the season must be completed even if it means playing into August and September.
Image: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Highlands Park coach Owen da Gama says there should be no limit on the time needed to complete the season when it is safe to return to the pitch following the threat of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Premier Soccer League (PSL) campaign is on hold while the country is in lockdown‚ with a return date up in the air and likely to be determined by how quickly the spread of the virus can be somewhat contained.

The PSL is working on various ‘return to play’ scenarios which include anything from simply playing games behind closed doors to a World Cup style format of a quick burst of seven or eight rounds of action in as little as three weeks.

“You want to finish the league and the Nedbank Cup‚ even if it means playing into August or September‚” Da Gama tells TimesLIVE.

“That is the only fair thing for everybody‚ otherwise you potentially create headaches down the line as those that miss out on silverware or promotion are at an obvious disadvantage.

“So the aim must be to finish the season and we [Highlands Park] are open to suggestions on how that gets done.

"It is probably certain that it will be without spectators‚ and while that will be sad for us‚ the important thing from a sporting perspective is that the games get played.

“If that was a route that the PSL chose‚ we would be very happy with that.”

Playing deep into the year will then mean a later start for the 2020/21 season‚ which will be complicated by the potential of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in January-February if that goes ahead.

But Da Gama feels these are surmountable challenges.

“There will be a knock-on effect‚ but there are ways you can make up for that later on.

"Maybe next season runs a little longer‚ or we play more games in a week. We have to be creative in our thinking in this unprecedented situation.”