Owen da Gama says he meant no disrespect to Sundowns star Jeremy Brockie
Highlands Park coach Owen Da Gama has clarified a statement he made about Mamelodi Sundowns striker Jeremy Brockie that caused a fuss on social media‚ noting it had been taken out of context‚ and apologising nonetheless for any offence.
The twittersphere‚ as it can‚ took Da Gama's words he had said on Brockie out of the context of the question he had been asked‚ and was all aflutter‚ suggesting the Highlands coach had "thrown shade" in some way at the Kiwi striker.
Da Gama was asked in the post-match press huddle to his team's 2-1 Absa Premiership defeat against Sundowns at Makhulong Stadium on Tuesday night whether he was disappointed about his star player Mothobi Mvala's seven goals this season.
His response‚ defending the performance a player who is the second-top scorer in the PSL‚ can play in midfield or attack‚ and turns out for a promoted team‚ was: "Well‚ if that's disappointing what about Brockie‚ who they [Sundowns] paid R8m for? How many has he scored?
“Sorry man‚ please. Let's be realistic and optimistic about it. There are other big players who are not even scoring five goals.”
Brockie took eight months to open his account at Sundowns from when he signed for them from SuperSport United in January last year.
He still has only one league goal this season‚ though three more in the Caf Champions League.
Da Gama was asked at a press conference on Wednesday ahead of Highlands' Nedbank Cup match against AmaZulu in Durban on Friday night to clarify the statement.
“It was in no disrespect to Brockie. He's a wonderful player.
"I think he's a great goalscorer and he proved that at SuperSport‚ and I think he'll still prove himself at Sundowns‚” the coach said.
“It was just a lighthearted comment‚ when somebody said‚ 'Are you disappointed about Mvala having scored seven goals in 17  matches'.
“He's a midfielder. He's not a striker. He's playing for a team that's new in the PSL. And then I just compared him.
“I mentioned Brockie but I mentioned [Downs' Gaston] Sirino also. I mean these are players who Sundowns have spent big money on.
“ ... It was meant with no disrespect to Brockie. And I'd like to apologise to Brockie if that was the case. But it was not meant in that way.”