Niang’s Rennes to return to training despite Ligue 1 cancellation

The Red and Blacks are set to hit the training pitch even with the 2019-20 season done and dusted

M’baye Niang looks set to get back on the pitch, but this time for training after Rennes announced the commencement of activities for the next two weeks, starting on Wednesday.

The 2019-20 Ligue 1 season was called off after the French government banned sporting activities until at least September because of the coronavirus pandemic.

This gave French football no chance of concluding before Uefa’s set deadline of August 3 for club football across Europe.

By virtue of the French top-flight ending after 28 match days, Rennes finished third and will hence qualify for the 2020-2021 Champions League, from the third qualifying round.

The reason for Rennes returning to training is so the players can get some fitness under their belt having been denied any football involvement for two months and counting.

With European governments easing coronavirus lockdown restrictions which have been imposed since March, the green light has been given for players to train and gradually resume football.

Rennes team doctor Rufin Boumpoutou stressed that the failure for players to train over a long period of time could pose high risk of injury.

“This recovery is first linked to medical management. The period of inactivity has been very long and this represents a fairly high risk of injury for the next season,” Boumpoutou explained on the club website.

“To manage this risk, it is important to be able to offer musculotendinous solicitation for the lower limbs fairly regularly. This is why players will train at the club for two and a half weeks.

“There is also a psychological reason. The confinement period has been long for people who live most of the year in groups. The period was also rich in events, doubts, misunderstandings, etc.

“It seemed important to put in place something where people could find themselves while respecting distancing and barrier measures around the same activity and to regain hope on the possibility of returning to normal football practice in the near future.”

Niang was Rennes’ top scorer for the 2019-20 campaign with 15 goals in all competitions and 10 in Ligue 1.

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The 25-year-old Senegal international has been the subject of transfer interest from Marseille.

He made a trip to the port city recently which only fuelled the speculation, but has debunked claims of any departure from Rennes.

Niang’s current deal at Roazhon Park runs until June 2023.

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