Owen Da Gama praises team's tactical discipline vs Egypt
Posted: 12 June 2015 Time: 22:45
South Africa under-23 coach Owen Da Gama has praised his team for sticking to the game plan in their 2-1 win over Egypt on Friday evening.
The national under-23 side faced Egypt in an international friendly at the Sugar Ray Xulu stadium, to prepare themselves for the upcoming Olympic qualifier against Zimbabwe.
Da Gama's young men did well to come from behind to beat their North African opponents, thanks to second half goals from Keagan Dolly and Menzi Masuku.
The Pharoahs got off to a cracking starts as they put early pressure on South Africa, and were rewarded in the 19th minute when Mohamed Hany Gamal Eldemerdash opened the scoring with a thunderous strike from outside the box.
South Africa were fortunate to go into the break trailing by just one goal, as Egypt looked threatening in the closing stages of the first half.
However, Da Gama's half-time talk must have been something of a tongue lashing as his boys came out a much better side in the second stanza, also with the introduction of Ajax Cape Town midfielder Travis Graham.
Keagan Dolly found the equaliser with a wonderfully-taken free-kick from just outside the area, and sent his effort into the top right hand corner in the 68th minute.
A double change by Da Gama saw Dumaisani Zuma replacing Siphiwe Kambule, and Abednigo Mosiatlhago coming in for Thapelo Morena in the 71st minute.
Just six minutes later, South Africa surged forward in attack through Modjeka Modisha on the right wing, who then set Menzi Masuku up to head South Africa into the lead.
Da Gama has since praised his players tactical discipline against a bigger, more physical Egyptian team, and says they stuck to the game plan.
"What a performance from the boys It was just a matter of getting the combinations right, and playing to their strengths," says the Bafana Bafana assistant coach.
"We always knew that the Egyptians were going to be bigger, stronger, but our mobility that we spoke about was evident."
Da Gama also pointed out that, though Egypt have been together for longer, his team came together despite being a relatively new unit.
"Looking at Egypt, they've played seven friendlies already [as a team], and we've only played one with this team.
"So I'm really proud of these boys, I think they can only get better and bettr [going forward]," he added.