By Mphatso Malidadi:
TNM Super League teams have been caught offguard as they are failing to track and stop their players from engaging in social football during the off-season break.
The tendency puts the players at risk of suffering injuries and burnout ahead of April’s kick-off of the 2019 season.
Last week, soccer lovers in Karonga witnessed a match involving a Super League players’ select side and Karonga District Select.
Another match was staged on Saturday in Machinga District and also featured several players from top teams against a team called Liwonde Roadblock.
Silver Strikers General Secretary, Lawrence Yobe, said it was difficult to monitor players’ behaviour and actions in the off-season
“But before we took a break for off season, we advised our players to desist from playing social football as injuries can affect their careers. Of course, in the case of injuries, all our players are on medical scheme which takes care of such eventualities.
However, that would be a big loss to the team because the player would have sustained an injury on a match that did not involve the team. This would disturb the technical panel’s game plans,” Yobe said.
Another official from a well-known Super League club said his players are not allowed to take part in any football game not sanctioned by the club.
“Those going against the order shall face disciplinary action as their contracts clearly stipulate that any injury sustained out of work [team’s sanctioned activity] will not be covered by the club,” he said.
The official said they were banking on their huge following to monitor players who are engaged in off-season football.
“We implore our supporters to monitor and report players who go against this directive. The supporters should act as our eyes and report as soon as they see any of our players engaged in social football,” he said.
A sports science expert, Gus Banda, who is also MultiChoice Malawi General Manager, feared the practice could lead to burnout and injuries.
“The biggest problem could be related to burn out. The human body can only take as much activity and the lack of rest leads to burn out which results in slower reaction time and lower levels of performance.
“Although active rest is encouraged, this must be done in such a way that the activity is job-related to football. Swimming or volleyball could be appropriate. So rest is critical for the body and for the mind,” Banda said.