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Fit or Unfit - Who Decides? - Ali's Words

Updated: Aug 2

As if last weekend’s defeat wasn't disappointing enough, we’re now faced with the injuries of two of our best players/attackers. A situation like this gives rise to a lot of debate amongst the management as to who should decide whether or not a player is fit enough to perform. In football, it’s extremely important to be able to handle injuries well and on time.

As a technical director, I obviously want all my players on the pitch to deliver. The same goes for the coach and the players. Everyone wants to go out there and put up their best show. But you’ve got to be realistic as well. Decisions pertaining to the selection of fit players cannot be based on feelings, wishes, and determination levels. You’ve got to be fit. The players of this generation are very conscious of their injuries. If you ask them, they are sometimes not sure about whether their body has healed fully or not They may think they can perform but the reality would be far from it. As a technical director and coach, we feel that if a player feels confident about performing he should play.

The fact of the matter is that the final decision of whether a player is fit or unfit to play must rest with the physiotherapist. He has the expertise to assess the player and give the final verdict. If they say that a player might not be able to give his 100% on the pitch or that playing might aggravate his injury, you need to accept that and move forth.

Also, the player should be able to understand his body and not take any risks unnecessarily. If he does, that would only result in poor health, poor performance, and thereby defeat for the team. We on the other hand need to be patient for the players’ recovery because only then would we get a good performance out of them. Instead of analyzing a player’s fitness level and arguing over who should play and who shouldn't, we should go with the physio’s verdict. In this way, we’d be able to make the right decision, one that’s based on facts not feelings.

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