ODG defends Fransman’s absence

Reports in September last year suggested that a fallout between Da Gama and Fransman ensued at a training session, which saw the former Kaizer Chiefs centre-back dropped from the starting line-up after featuring in the first two games of the season.

However, the former Bafana Bafana assistant coach was quick to rubbish such allegations and criticised the attempts to cause division within the Highlands camp.

Fransman later returned to the side, starting three of their six games between October 6 and December 1, before once again being dropped from the squad.

However, Da Gama has since explained his absence this time around, stressing that the difference in intensity of their training has caused injuries to the 35-year-old.

“Bevan picked up a calf injury, I think they will clear him soon,” explained Da Gama.

“You must understand that Bevan played in a [Nedbank] cup final before he came to us, so he got a little bit more rest than the other players.

“When he came to pre-season, he then picked up an injury, so he also didn’t have a very good pre-season.

“You must understand that the training here is different to that at Maritzburg – here we work, my man. We work very hard and sometimes it takes a player time to adjust to the intensity and level of training.

“But he then came back and played a couple of games for us. When we beat Cape Town City I think he was by far the best player on the pitch. He had the most entries into the final third by virtue of his passes, and he was just unbelievable.

“Then in the game he got injured, and we’ve been trying to nurse him with shockwave treatment and so forth.”

Da Gama also stressed that Fransman is one of the most professional athletes he has coached in his career, and feels contrasting rumours are damaging to the player’s reputation.

“He’s one of the most professional players I’ve ever worked with. In fact, he even drove to Bloemfontein to come and watch his teammates against Celtic,” he added.

“I’m sure [his former coaches] Fadlu Davids, Ernst Middendorp and everyone he’s worked with before will say the same, that he’s the most professional.

“So, when people come with such stories, it’s rather really sad because it’s not testimony to me but what the player is about.

“Coaches are hot-headed, we can talk sh**, we can fight players and sometimes swear at them, but Bevan is the most professional player and it’s such a pleasure to work with him.”