JOHANNESBURG. — Polokwane City head coach, Clinton Larsen, disagrees with those who feel there will be less pressure with no supporters in the stadiums.
The Absa Premiership resumes today week after the Nedbank Cup semi-finals got South African football back underway at the weekend after a five-month absence.
With all the matches being played behind closed doors, Larsen feels no team will have an advantage as everybody is new to the bio-bubble.
“Everybody has got to adjust,” Larsen told KickOff.com
“There are no supporters, so it’s new to everybody you know. So, we got to create our own atmosphere, we got to make sure we are highly motivated with no supporters around.
So, it’s a big adjustment for everybody, it’s the first time this happened. But I’m sure that once the whistle goes, it’s football, that’s all that matters.
“The pressure will be there. The pressure for three points, the pressure to perform at a high level because there’s nobody there.
“But in terms of the intensity and the seriousness of the match, that’s going to bring its own pressure.’’
Larsen is head coach at a club whose players include Zimbabwe international goalkeeper, George Chigova, and forward Walter Musona.
“I disagree when people say that it will feel like a training session. It might sound like a training session, but the match itself is going to be very intense and very serious like they normally are,’’ he said.
“We working hard, that’s all we can do is to work hard and be ready for the matches you know.
“Six big games so we very happy with the response we’ve got from the players you know. So we injury free at the moment, which is excellent.
“I think the physical conditioning team have done a great job, you know we hearing a lot of teams complaining about injuries and fortunately we are injury-free and we are looking forward to get going.
“As much as it might feel like a training session, everybody got to adjust.”
Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates will meet for a heavyweight today, with the match marking the return of the 2019/20 Absa Premiership season following a pandemic-enforced recess.
Kick-off at the Dobsonville Stadium in set for 6pm.
Sundowns claimed a fourth straight win and closed to within four points of the league leaders when they defeated Stellenbosch 1-0 away on March 11, courtesy of a goal from Themba Zwane.
The Brazilians have claimed 26 points from 11 home matches so far this season.
Orlando Pirates have failed to win or even score in either of their past two league matches, with their last outing a 0-0 draw away to Golden Arrows on 7 March.
The Buccaneers have claimed just 16 points from 12 away matches in the 2019/20 campaign.
In head-to-head stats, Sundowns and Pirates have met in 70 league matches since 1985.
The Brazilians have claimed 30 wins compared to 21 for the Buccaneers, while 19 games have been drawn. The Tshwane side have won 14 of 35 home matches in the rivalry, suffering 10 defeats in the process.
When the teams met earlier this season, at Orlando Stadium in January 2020, Pirates claimed a 1-0 home win thanks to a goal from Frank Mhango.
The teams’ last three league meetings have produced just that one goal — KickOff/SuperSport.