We can still win promotion, believes ladies' coach despite lockdown
- Credit: Carl Rumble Photography
A ladies football coach believes the continued suspension of the grassroots game is the right decision and remains confident his team can still achieve promotion.
Rob Mitchell said that safety must come first in the wake of a new variant of Covid-19, which has led to a third national lockdown since last March.
The Wimblington-based side sit third in the Championship North Division of the Cambridgeshire Women’s County League, with three wins from their four games.
“It’s a very drawn-out process, but the pandemic wasn’t going away so we were happy, as a club, to abide by every single rule and keep as many people safe as possible,” Mitchell said.
“You can’t keep playing football where a new strain of Covid is around, which is easier to catch than the first one. It is what it is; the safety of the players must come first.”
Mitchell admitted some of his players suffer from mental health issues, which football has provided a release from personal battles, particularly during the pandemic.
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However, the team is not short on plans to boost morale over the next few weeks.
“We do Zoom quiz nights, online fitness and this month, we’re asking them to run 26 miles, whichever way they can,” he said.
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“We’ve got a community group on Facebook, and by using social media to stay in touch, it keeps everyone going.”
Park Ladies have not played a competitive game since December 6 and it is unclear if or when the league season will resume.
However, Mitchell has been boosted this campaign thanks to strong squad numbers despite being located near to bigger towns such as March and Wisbech.
Now, with what he said is his strongest squad since last winning promotion, he wants his team’s hard work to pay off, but only when it is safe to do so.
“We know that we won’t be back until mid-February at least. In my mind, the league shouldn’t continue until all matters have been resolved and infection rates are at a safe number,” he said.
“If we restart in March, there’s a possibility of finishing. There are only eight teams in our league, so if there’s a possibility of playing until June, I think we can get it finished.
“Promotion remains the target. We’ve kept the same squad from last year, which I never had a chance to do for two years in a row, and I think it’s showing dividends with what we’re managing to achieve.”