SAPNSport | Mayambela grateful for return to football

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Mihlali Mayambela is set to make a long-awaited return to action later this month when loan club Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv resume their domestic campaign against Hapoel Kfar Saba in the Israeli Premier League.

Football has been suspended in Israel since 1 March due to the coronavirus outbreak but will return on the weekend of 30-31 May after national lockdown restrictions in the country were eased. A number of limits are still in place, however, with players still being confined to their homes, but allowance has been made for clubs across the league to resume full training without social distancing restrictions ahead of the season’s resumption.

We’re staying at home now like we can’t go out and walk and stuff. If we do that, it would be a big, big problem for the team and for the league as well because you might get suspended,” Mayambela tells KickOff

But we started training, I think two or three weeks ago, and we’ve been training normally. Our first league game will be played at the end of the month, on the 31st, so that’s the case, that’s what it is. We arrive at training wearing masks and we avoid shaking hands – but we’re training normally now. If you check, Israel is one of the safest [countries] so we’re training normal and we’re waiting to see if there will be no more problems before the league starts again.

With the number of new infections in Israel declining, football has been able to return sooner than in some of the neighbouring UEFA-affiliated nations, and clubs across the country have already embarked on a “mid-season pre-season” to get players back to full fitness.

There will be friendlies, there is one on Tuesday, and I think there will be two or three friendlies before the season kicks off again in 20 days’ time, I feel great because I’ve been working at home, even though it was not easy, but I’ve been trying my best and since we’ve now started full training, the body is getting back into shape,” Mayambela explains.

The only thing I think I’m missing now is that match fitness, you know. I was injured before the league stopped so I’m now I’m trying to get to my fullest, fullest fitness. I feel good [about returning] because I’m a football player and I miss football, so I feel grateful that we’re going to be able to get back on the pitch again to do what we love.

While football is set to resume in Israel later this month, Mayambela’s parent club Farense saw their season end last week after the 2019/20 LigaPro campaign in Portugal was brought to a premature conclusion.

By: Bradley Brizzy
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