Bafana Bafana

Da Gama’s future on hold as Safa looks at ways to retain him

Owen Da Gama. (Anesh Debiky, Gallo Images)
Owen Da Gama. (Anesh Debiky, Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Former Bafana Bafana assistant coach Owen Da Gama will know this week if he still has a job at the SA Football Association (Safa).

Da Gama is no longer a part of the national side’s technical team after coach Stuart Baxter opted not to rope him in.

Baxter has already taken on Under-20 and Under-17 coaches Thabo Senong and Molefi Ntseki as his assistants.

But, he said, this was on a temporary basis and he would decide who would be part of his technical team before the 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Cape Verde next month.

Technical staff

Safa chief executive Dennis Mumble told City Press that he would meet with Da Gama to see if he could be shifted within the organisation.

“It is clear that the assistant coaches’ contracts are tied up with that of the head coach. This means that Da Gama no longer has a contract with us, but I will be sitting down with him to see if he still has a role in the organisation,” said Mumble.

He added that they were awaiting word from Baxter regarding who he preferred to be part of his technical staff.

Baxter has already hinted that he needs a former Bafana player to join his staff. To this end, these names have been bandied about: former Bafana midfielder Quinton Fortune, former captain Aaron Mokoena and former striker Shaun Bartlett.

Mumble said Safa would wait until the end of the Cosafa Cup to engage the coach on his request.

However, Da Gama said he was unaware of the impending meeting and that he remained in the dark about his future.

Baxter has already roped in former SuperSport United and Orlando Pirates goalkeeper coach Alejandro Heredia to look after his goalies.

He also called in Joshua Smith a few days ago to be the team’s fitness trainer in the absence of Kabelo “KB” Rangoaga, who is in Ethiopia with Mamelodi Sundowns.

High regard

Smith and Baxter worked together at SuperSport and the coach has made no secret of wanting to retain his services for Bafana. But this may not go down well with some people, who believe that Rangoaga has been an asset for club and country.

Rangoaga has been with Bafana since Gordon Igesund coached the team, and players hold him in high regard.

He travels to Europe for refresher courses every off-season and, early last month, he went to Portugal to keep up with modern trends in football.

. Meanwhile, Mumble said Safa would go ahead and charge two ABC Motsepe League clubs with misconduct and bringing the game into disrepute.

The two – Buya Msuthu of North West and Limpopo’s Dolphins – would be hauled before the association’s disciplinary committee to answer to several charges.

Mumble said Safa wanted to send a clear warning to clubs and players that it would not tolerate any misconduct.

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