THE recently imposed ban on local sport due to the Covid-19 pandemic will negatively impact football, Linare midfield kingpin Mabuti Potloane has said.
Teams like Linare, which was just becoming stable will be the worst affected.
Potloane’s statements come on the back of Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro’s ban on all sports to arrest the sharp increase in Covid-19 cased. Majoro on 5 January imposed a ban on most sports leaving only non-contact sports.
The ban comes just when sporting activities were gradually returning after the first Covid-19 lockdown imposed by former Prime Minister Thomas Thabane last March.
However, towards the end of 2020, the restrictions were reduced and different sports started returning to action. And just when most were now expecting the full return of sports, the recent increase in Covid-19 cases has led to yet another lockdown.
Potloane, who re-joined Linare after a two- and half-year stint with Matlama, was unveiled alongside the side’s new coach, Tebogo Moloi, from South Africa at the start of the 2020/21 season.
Under Moloi, Linare has endured a tough start to the season after losing two of their opening four Vodacom Premier League matches against Lioli and LDF before beating CCX and drawing with Kick4Life.
But Potloane believes they were already finding their feet and it is unfortunate that the league has now been suspended.
“Of course, we had a bad start in terms of the results but the team has been playing so well so much that sometimes all we needed was just a win and this is why we collected four points in our last two matches,” Potloane said.
“We were slowly finding our feet as we had now started understanding how the coach wanted us to play and were beginning to gel and then league games were suspended.
“The disadvantage is that we can’t be together and work on areas where we think we were still behind. So, this break will obviously affect the momentum.
“When we closed for the Christmas break, there were lots of improvements in the team and we continued working hard when we re-opened but unfortunately we must start all over again.”
He admitted that expectations were high from their supporters given the quality in their side and their coach but said they were already expecting that.
“Linare is a big team. We have a balanced team now with quality players and a good coach, so it didn’t come as a surprise when the fans expressed that they were expecting so much. The pressure will always be there in football and we have to live with it and try to manage it,” he said.
Potloane heaped praises on Moloi calling him the best coach he has worked with.
“We are privileged to work with a coach of his calibre because he is willing to help us improve. It is such a blessing to have him as our coach and I think we must cherish this moment,” he said.
The former Likuena midfielder said he sees Linare challenging for every trophy on offer this season.
“I have already said that we have a good team and I don’t see any reason why we can’t be fighting for every trophy on offer this season. We must just work as team and see where that will leave us at the end of the season. There are so many positives in the team this time around…, so I think we have all the support to push for results this season,” Potloane said.