Highlands Park FC coach Owen Da Gama has being accused of having blasted Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter on his selection of players for the national team,
Da Gama, popularly known in football circles as ODG after the initials of his name, has denied ever ‘blasting Bafana’s Baxter’.
“I never blasted the national team coach over the weekend after my Telkom Knockout match against Maritzburg United. I merely said I was disappointed with the results, and expressed my thoughts that we should have kept the team that beat Burkina Faso, the same team that went to beat Nigeria away [but] then we disassembled that team.”
Da Gama said he was well aware of the amount of work and the pressure that came with coaching Bafana and that he had the greatest respect for Baxter.
“I support the decisions, and will always do, taken by the national team coach because he has the responsibility to call players based on their current form and it’s his prerogative to choose the players he sees fit to represent the team at the time.”
He added, “I have the greatest respect for members of the media. I never made mention nor blasted anyone but praised the progress and growth shown by players like Lebo Mothibe, Percy Tau and Lebohang Maboe.”
One of the club’s directors Sinky Mnisi also sprung to the defence of his coach. “We know our coach and his level of professionalism, we don’t believe what’s written in the paper today.
“We just wish this will not distract him from a good job that he’s doing with the team [Highlands Park]. This may have been a case of misinterpretation of his comment,” Mnisi said.