The excitement of playing in the ABC Motsepe League play-offs can be too much for some teams, resulting in failure to plan properly.
But there are high demands when you play more than four games in less than a week, and this can be very taxing to any football player.
Technical Director at the South Africa Football Association (SAFA), Neil Tovey – himself a former player – has given valuable advice to the coaches who will be leading their teams at the 2017 ABC Motsepe League Play-offs starting in East London next week. The team will be playing a minimum of three highly competitive matches in less than a week.
Top of the Tovey’s advice is how teams can manage their squads and avoid injuries to key players, which can in turn be a blow to their promotion ambitions.
“A lot will be expected of the teams, coaches and managers. This is not your normal cup competition because the teams will play a lot of matches. You have to manage your players well and coaches will have to think about their substitutions thoroughly so as to avoid injuries. An injury to a key player could lead to disaster in the tournament and the team ends up failing to get promotion,” advised Tovey.
The former Bafana Bafana defender and captain also spoke about the competitiveness of the play-offs.
Last year’s champions Magesi FC may have been relegated in only their first season in the NFD but Tovey believes others have represented the strength of the ABC Motsepe League very well.
“The competition is always fierce. Besides the prize money, the teams get to play in the National First Division (NFD). This is the second best league in the country and it makes up for a good pathway to get promoted to the Premier Soccer League (PSL). We are expecting very tough matches the entire week and the players and coaches must brace themselves to fight even harder than they did to get to this stage,” said Tovey.
The play-offs will start on Monday, 5 May at the Jan Smuts Stadium.
The first match will see Super Eagles FC from Free State entertain Mpumalanga’s Acornbush United at 12h30, while Buya Msuthu of North West will take on Maccabi FC of Gauteng at 15h00.
The final will be played on Sunday, 11 June 2017 at Buffalo City Stadium.
Kickoff is at 15h00.