Perth Glory coach Richard Garcia fears for the physical well-being of his players as they brace themselves for at least five AFC Champions League matches in Qatar.
The Glory leave for Doha on November 14 ahead of packed scheduled of games
Between November 18 and December 3, the Glory will play five Group F matches.
Should they finish in the top two of their group, Perth will advance to the knockout stages, which could mean another four matches if they progress to the December 19 final.
Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory face similarly demanding schedules in Doha, with there being every chance that the three teams will miss the start of the A-League season on December 27 due to a quarantine period that could also force players to spend Christmas in a hotel away from their families.
“The AFC protocols are quite good and they’ve reassured as about the process while we’re there,” said Garcia, who was appointed Glory coach in September.
“The hardest part has been trying to prepare the guys for the Champions League and the short space of time … it’s going to be very challenging on the players and
“For us at a group it’s more about how it affects our preparations for the A-League, and trying to get the players into a state where their bodies aren’t going to break down with such a short turnaround between games.”
Garcia also said it was natural that some players might be concerned about travelling to Qatar during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Of course there’s always the usual reservations but that’s among everybody within the wider community as well, so we’re no different,” he said.
“We’re still humans and have concerns about those things.
They’re all professionals so they’ve been wrapping their heads around that since we got back into training.
“As an organisation we’ve had to adapt to the world around us.”
The Glory, Victory and Sydney squads will stay in the same hotel during their Doha stay.
The Glory’s travelling squad will included Spanish talisman Diego Castro, who has returned to the Perth fold after refusing to talk part in the final stages of the 2019-20 season in a NSW hub.