A day after their arrival in the land of Didier Drogba, Yaya and Kolo Toure as well as Salomon Kalou – to mention a few – Amajita head coach Shakes Mashaba took the squad for an outing where they played table tennis, shot pool, went on a boat ride, swam at the beach and also played tennis.
“I think this was a good therapy for their minds, away from football. If you look at how many days we have been away from home it has been football all the way since we boarded our plane back home. I think they are right when they say this exercise was what the doctor ordered to clear their minds so that when they resume training they are fully refreshed and when we resume training they will be raring to go,” said Mashaba.
The team doctor echoed his words.
“It has been a strenuous trip since we left South Africa. This has actually helped because the boys are away from the game, away from training so they can give their bodies a chance to relax, recharge and forget a bit about the game. It will help them become sharper and more refreshed and I strongly believe they will be looking better when we face Ivory Coast,” said Dr Thulani Ngwenya.
Since leaving South Africa on Sunday, 20 July the squad has been on different planes travelling to Kenya, Mali, Burkina Faso, back to Mali, Senegal and now Ivory Coast. In between they had numerous training session and three friendly matches.
The day off appeared to be just what the players needed as they expressed delight at this.
“It was a lovely day indeed. It was a good idea to get our minds off football and come out here and do some team building exercises. We needed some bit of fresh air and not worry about the upcoming game for a while. We feel refreshed,” said goalkeeper Jethren Barr.
“We have been on the road for quite some time and it was important that we clear our minds and go into the next match full of energy. I am just glad that everybody enjoyed these fruitful exercises and we will be able to focus better for our last game against Ivory Coast and we will be able to go all out as we are now mentally stronger,” said forward Pule Maraisane.
“It was a good thing we did, shooting pool together, going on the boat ride, playing table tennis and tennis – things not related to football just to give the guys a breather from the punishing schedule that we are undergoing. It was a masterstroke now we are ready to go back on the field with renewed energy,” said midfielder Sphelele Luthuli.
“For the players it was vital that we get such an outing if you look at all the travelling, the training and the matches which have left us a bit exhausted. It was an exercise to see the country during our drive to this place, to see more of Ivory Coast. So it was a good rest day, one which will benefit us more in the match on Monday,” concluded midfielder Ryan Christian.