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Bosso bemoan fitness levels

by Staff reporter
13 Apr 2021 at 06:32hrs | Views
HIGHLANDERS head coach Mandla Mpofu feels players will struggle to play through Sunday's Independence Day trophy final against Dynamos, judging by their low fitness levels following a lengthy period of inactivity.

The Bulawayo soccer giants travel to Harare for the final against DeMbare at the National Sports Stadium after more than a year of inactivity and would only have trained for a week just like their counterparts.

They started training on Sunday after undergoing the mandatory COVID-19 tests and had two sessions yesterday at White City Stadium as they also prepare for the Premier Soccer League cluster competition, expected to start next month.

Mpofu said on the first day of training, half of his players failed a fitness test.

"We started training yesterday (Sunday). It was just a measure of fitness. We did a Cooper test, eight laps in 12 minutes for the players and at least 50% managed to pass and the rest failed. But it was to be expected after resting and lack of activity for a very long time. Fitness levels are very low," he said.

The Cooper test is a test of physical fitness, designed in 1968 by Kenneth Cooper, an American medical doctor and fitness enthusiast. It was meant for one to run as far as possible within 12 minutes.

Of the players that could be fit in the Highlanders squad is goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda, who trained with the Warriors for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier matches against Botswana and Zambia last month and defender Peter Muduhwa, who is back in the country from Tanzania after his loan spell at giants Simba SC was cut short.

Some players have been doing personal training programmes.

Muduhwa is yet to join Highlanders in training.

After the second day of training yesterday, Mpofu said the responses were good, but he was sceptical about the Sunday fixture and feared for injuries to his charges.

"Today (yesterday morning), we went into the field of play. We are doing a crash programme. It is a very tight programme so that the players can at least play on Sunday, but it is not going to be easy. If at least we will be allowed five substitutes, it will be good," he said.

"In a normal situation, I wasn't going to be able to fulfil this fixture. We can't take chances, but there are things that you can't control. These guys have been inactive for 13 months. Given the six weeks preparing for the league, we can't complain. The players will be in shape."

Highlanders are the holders of the Independence Day trophy after beating their perennial rivals Dynamos 2-0 at the National Sports Stadium in April 2019.

Source - newsday