Absa Premiership coaches have mixed feelings over long break.
Posted: 21 December 2012 Time: 10:11 am
The long break in the Premier League fixtures to accommodate next month's Africa Cup of Nations – which comes after the title chase has just passed the halfway mark – has drawn varied reactions from coaches in the topflight League.
Some coaches whose teams have been performing well fear the lengthy break may disturb their rhythm while those who have been finding the going tough are only too happy to embrace the recess and intend to use the time to address their challenges before the resumption of the League in February.
Other coaches hope the eight weeks will provide sufficient time for the recovery of some of their key players, who have been sidelined from action because of injury.
Orlando Pirates coach Roger De Sa – whose team trails log leaders Kaizer Chiefs by a single point on the League table – is not sure whether he should be happy or worried by the lengthy break.
"For me, it is like two sides of the same coin," De Sa, whose team cruised to a 2-0 victory over Golden Arrows on Wednesday night, tells KickOff.com.
"I am happy that the players will be able to rest. Some of the injured players will also have enough time to recover without any pressure.
"However, I am worried that the break may affect our momentum. We have been playing very well in our League matches but it is as if we are now on off-season.
"The team will play four or five friendly matches during the break to make sure that we keep the fitness levels up," adds De Sa, who is also looking to sign new players when the transfer window opens in January.
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane is also hoping that the break will provide adequate time for the recovery of players on his injury list: Punch Masenamela, Doctor Mampuru, Edward Manqele, Lebohang Mokoena and Eleazar Rodgers.
However, while Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter hopes to use the break to "make a few adjustments" and "establish the defence", the British coach is worried that six of his players might either pick up injuries or could be suffering from fatigue when they return from Afcon duty with Bafana Bafana.
Moroka Swallows coach Zeca Marques hopes to "recharge the batteries" during the breather after the team ended a largely disappointing stint of poor results with a 2-0 win over Platinum Stars on Wednesday evening.
Meanwhile, Ajax Cape Town and University of Pretoria will all be involved in friendly matches during this period.
Ajax will host Norwegian side Vikings on February 2 while University of Pretoria will play against Africa Cup of Nations Group D finalists Algeria on 16 January.
Algeria – who are based in Rustenburg and are also due to play against Bafana in an international friendly on 13 January – might also play against Platinum Stars at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace in a practice match that is yet to be confirmed.