“It really feels good to be back at training,” reflects Bernard ‘Die Hond’ Parker about his second full training session on the pitch.
Kaizer Chiefs’ first team squad started to train again at the Kaizer Chiefs Village. Over the last few days, the full squad trained, divided in groups and with the players keeping distance from each other.
“This virus caught us all off-guard,” comments Parker. “I was so used to training at the High Performance Centre at the Village, often working out extra, and never acquired a treadmill at home. Luckily, I have a nice garden, so I worked out in the garden, doing a lot of running and all kinds of other exercises.”
“It’s also great to be with your teammates again,” adds Parker, who looks as happy as a child who just got an ice cream. “It’s like a breath of fresh air.”
On the training sessions, ‘Die Hond’ says, “of course, we keep distance at this stage. We do a combination of fitness and ball-work. It’s all very much game-related.”
Talking about the game, Parker hopes that at some stage the go-ahead will be given to resume and finish the 2019/2020 Premiership season. “However, we will take it one step at a time. At present, I am just happy to be back on the field.”
Parker eagerly followed how football restarted internationally. First up was the German Bundesliga, with ‘Die Hond’ watching those games online. It was followed by the Italian Serie A, the Spanish La Liga and the English Premier League.
“It was interesting to watch,” he explains. “It’s quite intelligent how they try to create an atmosphere in the stadium for the viewers, by using audio of supporters singing and giving the impression that there are fans in the stadium, as they do with the La Liga games.
“It’s also noteworthy to see that especially the top sides, who have the best players, seem to perform the best. That says a lot about their mental approach to the game. Look at Real Madrid, who have really been doing great since the restart, thanks to the players’ mental strength.”
Parker also refers to Cristiano Ronaldo, who plays for Juventus in Italy. “It’s nice to see how he takes his leadership role seriously. Ronaldo has that winning mentality and it rubs off on his teammates.
“It’s a lesson for us as well. To be able keep our momentum, we need to be strong mentally. That’s going to be crucial when the league resumes.”
In closing, Parker has a word for the Amakhosi faithful: “We miss you all a lot. We know we are always in your heart, but you are also in our heart. Please keep safe in this period of Covid-19, keep social distance, wear your mask, sanitize and take care of yourselves.”