Bengaluru FC (BFC) head coach Marco Pezzaiuoli spoke out about the difficulties of a bio-bubble life during the ongoing season of the Indian Super League (ISL) held in Goa. BFC has been among the teams which has been struck by Covid-19 cases in its camp and has seen two of its fixtures postponed so far.
Speaking on the ongoing situation, Pezzaiuoli told Sportstar , "We’ve been in a bubble for longer than most teams in the League, because of our AFC Cup commitments last year [since August 2021]. Of course, the bubble isn’t an ideal situation for anyone involved in the sport – most of all the players. To be confined in a small space for months together, away from families, playing away from home with no crowds - all of this takes a toll mentally and physically.
"Even more difficult is having to be away during family emergencies. We have missed occasions, deaths, funerals and so much more. Sometimes you delay your decision to go back home to be with someone who is sick, sometimes you don’t have time to take that decision.
"But we understand the situation we are in because of COVID and all we can do is hope that we can find a different way if the virus still persists next season."
After nearly a week without training, Bengaluru earned a 1-1 draw against FC Goa on Sunday with skipper Sunil Chhetri netting his first goal of the season.
The Blues next take on Chennaiyin FC (CFC) on Wednesday. There have been six postponements to date amid rising cases in the bubble, Pezzaiuoli, however, doesn't want the league to be paused.
"I’m not of the opinion for a break in the League, for multiple reasons. If the League takes a break and has to be finished within the same time frame, then it means an already tight schedule has to be made even tighter to accommodate more games in a short time, and players stand a big risk of injuries or burning out. That’s not ideal at all. Secondly, a break with an extended calendar means players and staff having to spend longer time in the bubble than we otherwise would, and that is going to take a mental and physical toll on the players."
"We’re also seeing a rise in heart conditions among footballers who have suffered from COVID and are then rushed into a game, and that’s something we have to sit up and take notice of. At Bengaluru we are weighing the options of conducting the necessary heart-related tests for our players before we play our next game," said the German.
He also proposed a need for a longer league to help deal with similar situations in the future. "I understand it is a very tricky situation, where nothing seems like the best solution. The solution – for the future is – a longer League with more games, and enough time between those games. Leagues in different sports across the world are managing this, and the way the ISL is growing, it needs to adopt the same structure," he said.
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