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Owen da Gama downplays top spot for Highlands Park in National First Division

Posted: 31 October 2017 Time: 19:45

Highlands Park head coach Owen da Gama says he will not allow their current position in the National First Division to fool them into thinking they have arrived.

The Lions of the North currently share the summit with Stellenbosch FC with 16 points from nine games, having beat Black Leopards 1-0 at home in their previous outing on the weekend.

However, the former Bafana Bafana assistant coach is mindful the season is still very young.

"Ja, I think it's very early, it's early days in the league hey," Da Gama tells KickOff.com.

"For us it's just about consistency and one match at a time you know. We are happy with the progress that we are making but we understand that there's a lot of work to do and we are only focused on the next match. We are not excited about being there in that position because it could change within the next match. So for us it's just about being focused and trying to get the team right.

"We understand we had a bit of luck over the weekend with Black Leopards, the result could have gone either way. So, we under no illusions that we still have to fix up a lot of things in our team and try to get the team right.  We are just happy that we are grinding out results, but it's still a long way to go. 

"This is not a sprint, it's a marathon and it's only nine matches into the season so we are focused on trying to get the team right, and the position of the log surely is not important for now. We are trying to get the team as consistent as possible, we try to get the right combinations in the team."

He continues: "That's why we are not excited about being in the position that we are in now because there's still a long way to go. It's very hard for everybody.

"Highlands Park is a very professional team, it has got the resources. It's a club that is well organised and as I say we've got the resources. The players we've got are on another level, there's no doubt about that. They work very hard and everybody is committed and we understand the bigger picture.

"The entire technical team is working hard and we are trying to make sure we get the team to the level that we believe it should be. But as I say, there is still a long way to go and there is still a lot of hard work to be put in."

Da Gama has experience of guiding a team to the topflight from the second tier, achieving the feat in 2003 with Silver Stars [now Platinum Stars].

Highlands next host Stellenbosch at Makhulong Stadium in Tembisa on Saturday (15h30).

Article by: Sipho Mlotha
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