TS Galaxy Head Coach Owen Da Gama says that his time working with the national teams has helped him in being able to understand and appreciate some of the young talent in South Africa.
The former Highlands Park coach spent a number of years at SAFA, most notably as the national under-23 coach, but during his time with organisation, he worked as an assistant at all the age group teams, as well as the senior team.
Speaking to Velile Mnyandu in Edition 9 of iDiski Times, Da Gama told Mnyandu how he arrived at Galaxy to find former Ajax Cape Town and national under-20 star Masilake Phohlongo on the sidelines.
Da Gama says that knowing Phohlongo’s pedigree, he believed that if he showed faith in the player, he would shine.
Phohlongo has now made seven appearances for the club under Da Gama, and he scored his second goal in Galaxy’s 3-1 win over Black Leopards last week.
“When I came here, Phohlongo hadn’t play a game, you know. And they said, No, he’s this, but I knew that this was a highly talented player,” Da Gama told iDiski Times.
“And I took a gamble, I put my head on a block. And his first game, he scored against Pirates. And I knew that this boy, there was something very special about him. He had not even been in the squad of the team before I arrived.”
“So you’re very right, it helps when you have been involved in the database of South African football, you understand players.”
“And you know the pedigree of players because you don’t just make a national team if there’s nothing there hey, you must have done something very, very special.”
“So, yes, it helped me a lot being part of the national team now to understand, especially the younger players, the Mabiliso’s, or Monyane at Pirates, you know, young, young talent that is really going to take and there’s so many, the Luther Singhs, so many that we’ve interacted with and we understand something about them.”
Da Gama added that it was not just him with this knowledge, but also Shaun Bartlett and Simone Conley, who both have also worked with various national teams.
You can read the full in-depth interview with ODG in Edition 9 of iDiski Times.