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Da Gama ready to take over Bafana coaching job if 'nobody is available'

07 August 2019 - 10:35 By Tiisetso Malepa
Highlands Park head coach Owen Da Gama.
Highlands Park head coach Owen Da Gama.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Owen da Gama is ready to take over the Bafana Bafana coaching job and will happily accept it if the South African Football Association (Safa) asks him to succeed Stuart Baxter.

The Highlands Park coach‚ who previously served as Bafana assistant under Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba‚ has never hidden his desires on the job and added that Baxter's successor should be local.

Asked if he would consider the Bafana job‚ Da Gama said: “I think it is too early to discuss that.

"I have previously recommended quite a few coaches in your presence. I said I thought Gavin Hunt. I thought Pitso Mosimane. I thought Steve Komphela.

“So I have recommended those. It is difficult for me to answer you on that.

"But if nobody is available and I’m asked to serve the country‚ I will serve the country. But as you know I have made my recommendations.”

The Bafana hot seat remains vacant after Baxter's resignation last week and Molefi Ntseki has been asked to take over on an interim basis while Safa continues to search for a permanent replacement for the Briton.

Da Gama said Komphela (Golden Arrows)‚ Hunt (Bidvest Wits) and Mosimane (Mamelodi Sundowns) play the kind of football that is needed at Bafana level.

“If you look at the way Wits play‚ if you look at the way Golden Arrows play‚ you look at the way Sundowns play‚ I think we play to our strengths and I think that is important‚” said Da Gama.

“I just think that the intellectual property of our soccer has got be nourished and has got to grow.

"And with coaches like Komphela‚ Hunt and Pitso‚ if we can just nurture and play to our strengths you know‚ these guys understand the cultural dynamics‚ the diversified type of approach to the game‚ I think we can get there.”

Da Gama said he illustrated when he was in charge of the national Under-23 team that participated at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games that the team can succeed with a local coach at the helm.

“I mean we proved it with the Under-23s when we beat Senegal to qualify for the Olympics.

"Senegal were the number one Under-23 team at the time.

"We beat them and qualified for the Olympics but we played our brand of football‚” said Da Gama.

The Highlands coach thanked Baxter for his services.

“I have always said that Stuart Baxter‚ I think‚ has laid a good foundation for us.

"He has brought in a different dimension with a lot of discipline and we thank him for that.

“But I think we have to grow as I said that intellectual property has got to be nurtured and has got to grow.”

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