Mokwena on Sundowns' schedule: 'It's not humanly possible to have these number of games'
The sports science‚ conditioning and high performance personnel at Mamelodi Sundowns are working overtime as they attempt to manage the players in the midst of the premiership leaders' relentless domestic and continental programme.
So taxing is their schedule that the Brazilians will be playing in their fifth match in twelve days when they take on second-placed AmaZulu in a top-of-the-table DStv Premiership clash at Kings Park Stadium on Wednesday.
Since April 9‚ Sundowns played against CR Belouizdad of Algeria‚ Chippa United‚ Orlando Pirates and Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM) and co-coach Rulani Mokwena says their programme is punishing.
AmaZulu‚ on the other hand‚ last played a competitive match the day that Sundowns began this five-match period against CR Belouizdad. The Durban side have won their last five league outings.
“It’s not always easy‚ maybe what we must do is to put the players in a fridge‚ but unfortunately it is not possible to do that‚” said Mokwena.
“This means we have to try by all means to manage them because scientifically the human body can only go through overloads of physical overload twice in seven days. There is a 48 hour period between the overloads and this is scientifically impossible‚ but we are trying our level best to manage the situation.
“We are trying to navigate the possibilities of not getting ourselves into fatigue levels that could induce muscular problems. It is not humanly possible to have these number of games in these number of days‚ but the players have shown mental fortitude‚ fight‚ resilience and character.”
Mokwena said there is very little they can do about their programme but to keep fighting.
“They don’t complain but just continue to fight on and do the best for the club. I am sure the supporters of the club‚ the president (Patrice Motsepe) and the rest of the people who are closely associated with the club appreciate their efforts because this is not easy.
“We have a good sports science‚ conditioning and high performance personnel who are doing very well do manage the situation. We have to do what we can and try to manipulate the programme. Sometimes we are unconventional with our methods and try to find the best possibilities to manage what is a very difficult programme.”
Sundowns go into this match on the back of a shock Nedbank Cup semifinal defeat to TTM last weekend and Mokwena said the show must continue.
“There is no budget for pity parties‚ we can’t be sobbing and waiting for people to feel sorry for us. We are Mamelodi Sundowns and we must show character by bouncing back from a difficult result.
“We are faced with a very important game and we have said that all these games are cup finals. It hasn’t easy to prepare for this match after an unfortunate result against TTM‚ but we have to dust ourselves off and show mental resolve by digging deep. When two very good teams meet‚ you have to play well to yourself a chance to win against a good team with a very good technical staff and good players.”