Owen Da Gama respects late arrivals of Orlando Pirates duo
Posted: 24 November 2015 Time: 21:19
National Under-23 coach Owen Da Gama says he respects the decision made by Orlando Pirates to retain U-23 stars Menzi Masuku and Gift Motupa, insisting his side will prepare without them accordingly.
The Bucs duo will miss South Africa’s opening 8 Nations tournament match against Senegal on Saturday as they will be travelling with their club to Tunisia for the second leg of the final of the CAF Confederations Cup competition as requested by the Soweto Giants last week, yet Da Gama says he understands this unique situation, and has already planned ahead with their absence in mind.
“Orlando Pirates are on the verge of making history and we have to be sensitive about that - it is history for Pirates and for the country,” Da Gama said. “As much as we also have our mission for the country we have to be sensitive, also bear in mind that Orlando Pirates is always the first to release players for national team duty.
“These are integral players of the U-23 National team, but we have prepared well as we anticipated they might not be with us for the first match.”
Da Gama wished the Bucs well ahead of their must-win second leg Final, saying he has full confidence in the South African club to do the business in Tunisia.
“Let me also take this opportunity to wish them well in the final. We know they can do it and we believe in them,” he said.
Both Motupa and Masuka are expected to be available for the Under-23s’ second group stage match against Zambia next Tuesday.