Township Rollers warm up to African adventure
Premier League and Coca Cola Champions, Township Rollers are far from relaxing following their double league and cup conquest.
Last week they took a break off the pitch for a more academic fitness test at the University of Botswana laboratory in preparation for the demanding and more challenging continental competition.
According to the team’s confessed magician and fitness guru Professor Onnyewadume there is need to test the mental and physical strengths of the team. Such tests, he said, would enable the players to have personal medical certificates.
“We are basically assessing the players strength whether they have out done themselves or not. We need to know this before they break and even when they come back. We will be going into Africa and obviously there is need to raise the bar. We are checking psychological and mental toughness compared to the sporting experiences for the past season,” Onnyewadume told Voice Sport.
The players, for a first in Botswana, were testing for different aspects like fat levels, weight and body mass index as well as somatotype physique and their flexibility and respiratory capacity as well as the muscular strength and power plus coordination on both the hands and legs.
“We will also take the players through a maximal Oxygen update assessment and a haematological assessment. The muscular endurance speed and agility as well as the cooper tests will also be done without fail,” Onnyewadume explained.
When asked what the importance of all these were, the no-nonsense physical trainer said that there was need for the club to know their athletes and what they can and cannot do.
“We need to know the level of physique and their fitness from all the human scientific aspects. The more fat in a player the less likely muscle tiredness. The more the lactic acid the more they get tired. Going into Africa will mean playing in different altitudes. We need to know our athletes more as well as their needs. We will obviously have a group report on their status and where they should be. We will also attend the individual risks,” he said.
Onnyewadume also revealed that already there are calls from the local clubs to engage physical trainers for next season and that he has been approached by some. The UB lecturer explained that it is advisable that all clubs engage physical trainers, as that will enhance the level of competition in the league. “There has to be a time when others become stronger and developing during the season is very important. A striker must be able to shoot a few times and score instead of, say 20 times, and get just one goal. In Africa you can get just one chance and if you are focused and fit those are the chances you bury. All teams must also be able to assess their own players”
He revealed that most people had thought he would burn out players but the opposite happened. He encouraged teams to engage all the university graduates who have been trained in that regard, as this is not magic but handwork. This he said must even be encouraged at the lower divisions. He also gave an example of the South African coach, Carlos Parreira who has talked about the fitness of the South Africans in their local league.
Meanwhile at press time Rollers were still spoiled for choice as to where exactly they want to compete either the Cup Winners or the Champions league.