By Ramotswedi Rammutla July 1, 2020
Mahikeng: As world sports resume training and matches in July the local Premier Soccer League, PSL which resumed training recently is expected back in full force with closed venue fixtures. This after Minister of Arts, Culture and Sport, Nathi Mthethwa, announced the resumption of the football matches. Matches may resume after three months with North West also earmarked to host teams and fixtures.
Mthethwa said PSL plans have been approved, considering the mitigation strategies and plans in relation to the Level 3 risk adjusted strategy in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The plans have further been subject to analysis by health authorities, the NICD (National Institute of Communicable Diseases), who have recommended that the measures put in place by the organisation meet and in some instances exceed the required protocol for a safe return to training and to play in a biologically safe environment,” he said.
The league was halted in March, with Kaizer Chiefs on top of the log with 48 points, followed by defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns behind by just four points. Black Leopards was at the bottom of the league table. The Nedbank Cup was also in the semi-final stage when play was stopped due to COVID-19. The news of the return of PSL matches come a day after two Kaizer Chiefs players tested positive for the virus. Bloemfontein Celtic also confirmed that one of its players tested positive.
The South African Football Association (SAFA) welcomed the return to soccer training and matches.
“The green light from the Minister means the work on the implementation of the document can start,” SAFA said in a statement. SAFA has appointed Chief Medical Officer, Dr Thulani Ngwenya, as the Compliance Officer to oversee the appropriate implementation of the whole process and that everything on the protocol document is adhered to.“Once the return to training meets all the requirements and the biological safe environment has been identified as stipulated in the protocol, the second part of the return to play kicks in…” added SAFA.