ODG on past Bafana mistakes


Da Gama previously assisted former Bafana coach Mashaba prior to his dismissal in November last year.

Da Gama was appointed interim coach for the 3-1 win over Guinea-Bissau on the weekend, and tomorrow's friendly with Angola in East London.

Among the changes, 'ODG' notably recalled Rennes striker Kermit Erasmus and FC Twente midfielder Kamohelo Mokotjo, who both had strained relationships with Mashaba.

Mokotjo was nearly lost to Bafana but SAFA intervened to help him regain his South African citizenship just before the weekend, with the player shining against the Wild Dogs at Moses Mabhida Stadium.

Da Gama said: "I think, something that we didn't do well in the past, that I feel I'm guilty [of] too and I'm party to that as well, is that we should go out and audit and watch Keagan Dolly play there. And watch him gym and see how they utilise him so we know how we can fit him in the structure in our setup, the way we play.

"The same goes to Kermit Erasmus. We should go and watch these players, we should go speak to their coaches. They should feel that we really want them them, and they serve us with distinction.

"I just think, as I said, I was part of that. We should go out and see how they are using Kermit there; how they are using Kamohelo Mokotjo; how they use Lebogang Phiri at Brondby. He's just 23 years old and has played over a 100 games for Brondby. We should go and watch how they utilise them."

Da Gama also touched on the practise of banning cellphones in camp, as was done at one stage during Bafana's failed 2017 AFCON qualifying campaign.

"The best way to integrate the players is to make them share things. So that was the way we operated in the camp, we allowed players to choose who they wanted to sleep with... and that is number one. You have got to be comfortable with who you want to sleep with.

"Number two, we allowed them to have cellphones. They're professionals. If they are going to misuse the, they are going to misuse them. But they are professionals and you treat them like professionals and let them behave like professionals.

"Like Nelson Mandela said, we don't believe in standing on top of players. Players are professionals and they have got to be treated like that.

"I think, from the start of the camp, these players are away from families, from home, they are sitting in their rooms the whole day.

"You've got to do something to make them just feel good about why they are there, and they are doing that for the country. They sacrifice that for their families, their holidays for the country.

"So I was fortunate that I was a player, maybe some time back, but it's a big sacrifice."