06/07/2012 4:26 AM
Limpopo is the northernmost province of South Africa which sits at about 2,126 m above sea level. It is also the home of Black Leopards Football Club who are a team of Limpopo.
Usually the temperature on the province can reach levels of almost 40 degrees Celsius on a hot summer day. The question is how do the players cope under such heat and still be able to play professional football at its best.
A human being can only tolerate a variation of around 4°C in internal body temperature without physical and mental performances being impaired. It is well known that soccer players like in many other sports are at some time or other subjected to extreme weather conditions. The temperature of the climate the game is played in is all important and will affect body temperature and thus the ability to perform.
When playing football in hot weather, the heat lost through convection and radiation is minimal thus requiring heat to be dissipated through the evaporation of sweat. In humid conditions the body’s ability to reduce its temperature is further reduced as sweat evaporation is inhibited. The active muscles and the skin are in direct competition for the limited blood supply as the muscles need blood to provide the necessary oxygen and the skin needs blood to facilitate heat loss. Thus, exercising in hot and humid conditions can be dangerous or at least lead to poor performance.
But the Lidoda Duvha Stars beat the heat and rise above other teams through a few methods:
Fluid intake: adequate fluid intake before, during and after the game/training will avoid dehydration. Players should be correctly rehydrated before competition and take additional drinks when possible. Before exercise, the player's weight should be at its norm.
Judging their efforts: Many games are played in hot and humid temperatures which are likely to affect playing performance. Players should try to judge carefully their efforts over the whole match without exhausting themselves from too much high-intensity exercise too soon in the game.
Clothing/Skin Protection: Clothing should be light coloured if possible and made of a lightweight, breathable material so that sweat can evaporate like the KAPPA kit. Football kit soaked in sweat prevents heat loss so should be frequently changed.
Planning: The coach can judge or measure whether the temperature is too hot for training. Training should not take place in temperatures above 40°C and can be moved to cooler periods (morning/early evening). Plenty of drinks must be made available and exercise intensity levels adjusted accordingly. Training should as well include regular rest periods.
So it is evident that our team has all the correct resources and heat is not an issue to us. Teams always complain about the heat when they have away games against the team. Secret weapon or not, our players are soldiers and beat the temperature along with the opponents. Lidoda Duvha!!