July 27, 2021

Safa’s Dr. Ngwenya on why planning for 2019/20 PSL resumption has been strenuous

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The head of medics at the country’s FA speaks about the taxing journey to ensure the current season resumes

With the 2019/20 Premier Soccer League (PSL) taking a recess of more than three months, South African Football Association (Safa) chief medical doctor Thulani Ngwenya says he will breathe a sigh of relief once the first match gets underway next weekend.

The current campaign was forcefully halted because of the coronavirus pandemic in March but the games are finally set to resume next weekend with the Nedbank Cup, while the league will get underway a few days later.

Ngwenya also credited officials from the National Soccer League (NSL), such as Michael Murphy and Lee Pillay, describing the process to resume the games as strenuous.

“I will breathe a huge sigh of relief when the first match kicks off. It will not just be any sigh, but a sigh of great relief,” Ngwenya told NewFrame

“The whole process has been strenuous. It has been a roller-coaster ride of emotions and this process took a toll on my family and colleagues.”

Ngwenya recently revealed that he received messages threatening his life, where many believed he was the stumbling block regarding the resumption of the season.

“There has been a lot of misrepresentation, with people looking at me like I was the stumbling block. But everything we did, we did to ensure the safety of the players and everyone involved,” he added.

“It also must be understood that we were venturing into the unknown because this hasn’t happened before, there was not much to reference it with.

“I and my brother Lee Pillay from the NSL [National Soccer League] worked closely on this. It wasn’t just me working on this – it’s just that I might have been the ‘face’ of it.

“There were other people, including Lee Pillay and Michael Murphy.” 

Meanwhile, Bloemfontein Celtic is set to face Baroka in the first semi-final of the Nedbank Cup followed by Mamelodi Sundowns against Bidvest Wits, and the clashes will be staged at Orlando Stadium on Saturday.

Masandawana will, therefore, resume their league campaign against Orlando Pirates on August 11 while Kaizer Chiefs face off against the Clever Boys a day later.