SA U-23 coach Owen da Gama elaborates on Gift Motupa and Menzi Masuku's importance
Posted: 2 December 2015 Time: 12:18
Coach Owen da Gama has elaborated on the importance of Gift Motupa and Menzi Masuku to the national U-23 team.
Da Gama's charges are currently competing in the CAF U-23 Africa Cup of Nations, which serves as a final qualifier for next year's Olympic Games in Brazil.
South Africa lost the tournament opener 3-1 to host nation Senegal before beating Zambia 3-2 in Dakar on Tuesday.
Orlando Pirates midfielders Motupa and Masuku missed the first game as they were representing their club in the CAF Confederation Cup Final against Etoile du Sahel in Tunisia.
However, they reasserted their value against the Zambians, as Motupa bagged a brace and Masuku also found the net at Stade Léopold Sédar Senghor in Dakar.
"It is important that we don’t overstate that because at the end of the day we are not looking for excuses as to why we lost the first game," Da Gama said when asked about the duo's impact.
"We had confidence in all the players but you have to understand that Masuku and Motupa are an integral part of this team.
"When we played a friendly against Tanzania Motupa scored two. Against Egypt Masuku scored the winning goal, and also when we beat Sudan Masuku scored the winner.
"So these are players that score goals for us. They understand how the rest of the team functions and the machinery was just in place against Zambia, and that is why they are so important for the U-23 national team."
Da Gama's men need to avoid defeat against Tunisia on Friday to book their spot in the semi-finals of the competition.
The top three finishers at the event will qualify for Rio 2016.