Owen da Gama not mature enough for Bafana hot seat

S’Busiso Mseleku (File)
S’Busiso Mseleku (File)

There are some very good tips in Dale Carnegie’s - the father of motivational speaking - book titled How to Win Friends and Influenced People.

And if I were Owen da Gama’s advisor, I would inform him that he has done a great job to prove why he should not be appointed Bafana Bafana coach.

In fact, "Rubber Doll", a great player in his heyday and so far proving to know something about coaching, appears to suffer from that one "disease" that most coaches do: foot in mouth.

I know his rating is quite high at the moment following an impressive win against Guinea-Bissau in a friendly played at Moses Mabhida Stadium.

However, a closer scrutiny of his armoury proves that he is still wet behind the ears.

OK, let’s go.

Soon after the victory, Da Gama told the gathered media at the post match conference that given the good performances dished out by the players on the night, there would be “no wholesale changes for Tuesday’s match against Angola.”

He went on to qualify his statement by adding that he had learned his lesson when he made several changes during a friendly match when he was a stand-in coach.

The team lost its shape and the match went south.

But come Tuesday, what did Da Gama do?

He made nine changes to the starting line-up! And the result was a drab goalless draw which was in stark contrast to the performance dished out in Durban.

Surely the people from around East London - who don’t get that many Bafana Bafana matches played in their neck of the woods - must have felt short-changed, or in football lingo, sold a dummy?

They bought tickets in their numbers and soon the 10 000-seater Buffalo City Stadium was sold out way before match day.

What a great opportunity missed to play good football in the atmosphere of a packed venue - a rare occasion for a Bafana match.

More than that, Da Gama left Kamohelo Mokotjo on the bench after the South African Football Association (SAFA) had worked around the clock to get the Department of Home Affairs - a case in which the minister had to intervene personally - to re-issue him with South African citizenship.

No sooner was that game over - result or no result - that news emerged that Da Gama had put up his hand as being “ready” and available to take the Bafana hot seat.

Nothing wrong there as it would seem every Tom, Dick and Harry as well as their aunts, uncles, cats and dogs think they can do that job.

But, for starters, Da Gama was part of the team under Shakes Mashaba so everything that went on under that management including the banishing of certain players - whom he has now brought back - happened under his watch.

And when given an opportunity to state categorically that he was available for the post by Robert Marawa on his 180 With Marawa on Metro FM, Da Gama went around in circles telling us that he had not said he was ready and available, but that he was just part of the SAFA structures and so on and on.

In fact, he just mumbled on and on.

To me that meant curtains. He is just not ready and is not material for such a tough and demanding job that needs a decisive man who stands by his word - finish and klaar - to quote the late Jackie Selebi.

S'Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of the biggest awards in a career spanning over 30 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor.

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