There’s a glimmer hope that the current season will resume after teams were allowed to go back to the training grounds
The coronavirus lockdown is on Level 3 in South Africa but football is still suspended across the board. The PSL is trying all they can to save the 2019-20 season.
While some seasons around Europe and Africa have been cancelled, the PSL remains hopeful of completing the current campaign.
When will the PSL season resume?
Earlier this week, the South African Football Association (Safa) gave all the 32 PSL teams the green light to resume training following approvals from South Africa’s Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize and Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa.
While Safa has maintained that no football should be played under lockdown Level 3, even behind closed doors, it is safe to say allowing teams to return to training is a start of good things to come.
PSL chairman Dr Irvin Khoza is hoping the season can be completed before or on July 31 but that would mean competitive games should restart at least by July.
The PSL has been suspended for at three months due to the coronavirus outbreak coupled with the lockdown imposed by the government.
This means all the teams will need at least two to three weeks to be fit again and complete the season and that might be a challenge for the PSL.
Could the PSL season be cancelled?
In Europe, the Eredivisie declared their season null and void and ended the season without a league champion and promotion/relegation – but some teams, including Bongani Zungu’s Amiens SC have taken legal action against the French Ligue 1 authorities as they feel the decision was unfair.
The PSL has no intention to cancel the season and so is Safa who has maintained that they are not against the idea of completing the season but only if it is safe to do so.
Three weeks ago, Safa confirmed partnering with the English FA to share ideas on what’s best for the players and officials with regard to measures that should be taken on return to football.
All the PSL teams have already fumigated their facilities and it’s only a matter of time before players can be told resume training and be tested, according to Safa.
In mid-Apil, Safa set two conditions that will make it possible for the return of all football activities in South Africa:
1. The government should declare that it is safe to do so – which they since have [subject to extensive testing and screening of players and officials and disinfection of training facilities].
2. That domestic flights are reinstituted – this hasn’t been made clear as yet by the government.
Hence it’s unclear, at this stage, how teams will travel from one province to another to complete the rest of the remaining matches.
However, these are some of the things that are still being discussed with Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula although there’s still a possibility of a single camp for all the 32 teams under the PSL umbrella.
What happens if the PSL season can’t be finished?
At this stage, it’s unclear what will happen if the PSL season can’t be finished.
However, Kaizer Chiefs remain top of the log with 48 points from 22 games – and the country is divided on whether or not they should be crowned league champions.
There are suggestions that Amakhosi should be declared winners if the season can’t be finished but others have correctly argued that it won’t solve the issue of relegation and promotion.
Of course, AmaZulu and Black Leopards who sit 15th and 16th on the PSL standings respectively would feel hard done should the PSL season not finish and Chiefs be crowned champions.
Again, if the season can’t be finished and Chiefs don’t win the title, NFD teams such as Ajax Cape Town, Swallows and Uthongathi FC would feel shattered by the decision.
As previously mentioned, the PSL wants to finish the season, and the executive is working around the clock to ensure that happens.
In South Africa, we have seen schools re-open only to be closed again due to confirmed positive cases, and PSL will hope this doesn’t happen once competitive football is back.
What are PSL teams doing during lockdown?
Watch how the Glamour Boys are staying fit during lockdown. https://t.co/w4MZ1ODp4m #Amakhosi4Life
— Kaizer Chiefs (@KaizerChiefs) June 11, 2020
PSL clubs have been allowed to return to training by the government but very few of them have done so already as others continue to ensure the environment is safe before welcoming their stars back.
Teams with resources such as Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns had been relying on technological means to monitor what their players were doing while at home.
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The issue of social distancing remains the biggest challenge – and it will be interesting to see how PSL clubs deal with it going forward.
Cape Town City have already taken a step forward in addressing the issue of screening.
Players came in for screening and debriefing today under #LockdownLevel3 regulations 💙⚽️ #iamCityFC pic.twitter.com/NI7rp42WJu
— Cape Town City FC (@CapeTownCityFC) June 2, 2020
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