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Owen Da Gama explains Bafana Bafana recalls

Posted: 9 March 2017 Time: 13:47

Bafana Bafana interim coach Owen Da Gama has explained some of the selections into the squad for the two upcoming friendlies later this month.

Da Gama named a strong 25-man squad for clashes against Guinea-Bissau in Durban on March 25 as well as Angola at a venue yet to be confirmed on March 28.

The national under-23 mentor will take charge for the rest of the month in place of Shakes Mashaba, who was sacked late last year, after negotiations with a potential permanent replacement fell through last week.

With Da Gama stepping up from his role as assistant, the former Orlando Pirates coach handed recalls to numerous players, including Kermit Erasmus and Kamohelo Mokotjo who knowingly had a broken relationship with Mashaba.

"We've been following players all over the world, and we've seen now that Kermit Erasmus has started playing quite regularly," explained ODG."Mokotjo has always been playing and is doing very, very well for his specific team.

"[Calling up] Luther Singh and Phakamani Mahlambi will encourage a lot of youngsters to work harder, and it's a step in the right direction to give hope to the youngsters.

"We tried to look at the Senegal squad, and we didn't want to change too much there. We had to take that into consideration as well. We want to take that Senegal squad and try and strengthen it as best as possible."

Meanwhile, Dutch-born Lars Veldwijk is also up for reassessment despite his unconvincing showing in his maiden national team spell in November last year.

"Questions might be asked about a player like Lars Veldwijk, I mean, in all honesty, he didn't have a good start [after] he set foot in South Africa for the first time in his life," continued Da Gama.

"But we don't just bring in a player and cast him aside if he doesn't start well. I remember myself, when I went to play in Belgium, after my first match I thought they would send me home, but a week later I scored a hat-trick.

"You can't just [discard someone]. You've got to show confidence in players; you've got to allow them to settle and I think this allows us to do that, and encourage players by saying, 'you might have an off time but we still believe in you'."

The 55-year-old tactician, who is a former striker himself, has rallied support for the players amid the coaching crisis the association currently find themselves in.

"I appeal to the journalists: headlines about who the [new] coach is are good, but let's boost our players; let's give them that encouragement because at the end of the day they are the ones who go onto the field and make it happen for us," he urged.

The Bafana squad is set to assemble on March 20 before they host the 'Wild Dogs' at Moses Mabhida Stadium five days later. 

Article by: Chad Klate
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