The world is under siege from the novel coronavirus that has brought a standstill to almost all activities across society.
This has forced countries including Uganda to go under lockdown in order to stop further spread of the virus.
In Uganda, 55 cases have been registered while 20 people have recovered from the disease, however, the country will stay under lockdown at least until May 5, after a government directive.
By the time the lockdown is lifted, the Ugandan Premier League will be on a halt for close to 60 days since the last game was played on March 7.
If and when the league returns, the biggest question will be how prepared the players will be to take on a competitive game. With matches expected to come in thick and fast in a last-ditch effort to complete the league before it is too late.
Sports Scientist and fitness expert, Brian Ssebalamu revealed that players will struggle to cope with the intensity and physical conditions required to compete in the top flight once football returns.
“It is hard to find a player who is still at the same fitness levels than they were before,” Ssebalamu said during Star FM’s night Sports program.
“The time they have been out with no training or action means most of them have lost at least 10% or 15% of their fitness, and that is to those who have continued to have a bit of workout.”
Ssebalamu who runs the Krero Sports program that helps develop young sportsmen by providing specific physical training for sports, predicts that there will be a spike in injuries including hamstrings, achilles and Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injuries if the players are rushed back.
“The players should have used this time to watch their fitness,” he said.
“And if they did not, then by now they should have lost some endurance because the fitness levels drop astronomically with no work.”
“Right now, it is difficult for the players to return to full performance after over a month plus out of action.”
“This means if there is an immediate return, there is a huge risk of players sustaining injuries, especially ACL, hamstrings, achilles injuries because their bodies will be strained.”
“Unfortunately, there is limited time to allow players to return to their optimum performance because we need to make up time for the following season,” he added.
Ssebalamu further advised that while human bodies can cope with a degree of strain once they are subjected to it, a maximum of two games a week is enough for the players to take, but more of that is asking too much.
“Because we have been in a forced offseason of sorts, then at most these players can take up to two games a week because they need time to recover between games.”
“Of course, the speed is expected to drop significantly, and this will affect the intensity at which the games are played, meaning more than two games a week is a bit too much,” he revealed.
The date on which the Uganda Premier League will return remains mysterious, however, UPL CEO Bernard Bainamani revealed that clubs will be given at least a week to prepare physically before action can resume.
This post was written by, Shafic Kiyaga and initially published by football256.com and reproduced under license.
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