MAMELODI SUNDOWNS doctor Carl Tabane says they are getting COVID-19 advice from Barcelona FC goalkeeper coach Jon Ibarrola, who left the Brazilians five years ago.
Ibarrola, who worked with Sundowns goalkeepers Brian Baloyi and others, arrived at Sundowns around 2010 and left the club to return home to Spain five years ago.
He is now in the employ of Barcelona as assistant to head coach Quique Setién and is directly working with goalkeepers Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Neto.
“You must remember that this is very new in the whole world. We may have players who are scared of getting infected.
“Imagine after one match that one player has tested positive, this will send shivers to other players,” said Tabane.
“We use Europe as our yard stick and there were many players and coaches in Europe who tested positive for COVID-19.
“We talk to our former colleague at Barcelona FC Jon Ibarrola and he is giving us great advice from the best club in the whole world.
“He talks to coach Pitso Mosimane and us about players’ travelling, what happens after training – do the players go home or not?
“He has also given insights as to how often and frequent to test players and staff.
“He’s very useful and still one of us, even though he is at the biggest club. So, we get information from everywhere so we can continue our quest to defend our league title and to try and win the Nedbank Cup.
“What’s on our minds is that the league must be finished and never be declared null and void.
“That’s why we are working so hard to be ready to fight when we restart,” he added.
Tabane also mentioned that their injured key players Thapelo Morena and Mauricio Affonso were recuperating and have started to play actively with the ball.
“They’re doing a bit of ball work. We’re very happy. We had given Thapelo a timeline of four months and he is now running and playing with the ball – he is a bit ahead.
“Affonso is still home in Uruguay and is feeling no pain and is now comfortable.
“We won’t throw them back in the deep end until we know they are 100% to play again.”