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Da Gama urges players to step up their game

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Owen da Gama, head coach of the national men’s Olympic football team says they let themselves down in Sunday’s 1-0 loss to Denmark – their second match of the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The clash took place at the Mane Garrincha Stadium in Brasilia and the South Africans created many chances in the game but failed to convert any of them.
Now they find themselves at the bottom of Group A after their opening 0-0 draw against Brazil.
‘To a certain extent luck was not on our side, however, we let ourselves down – no two ways about it. We created so many chances but could not convert any of them. At some point we had the edge, we were on top of Denmark. (Keagan) Dolly and (Gift) Motupa were unfortunate not to score after their shots hit the woodwork.
‘I also think players need to raise their hands when called to represent their country. There were times when I felt that there was no sense of urgency from some individuals. In some situations they should have been brave and take players on, but they didn’t.’
The red card against them in the first match played a key role in match day team selection.
‘Following Mothobi Mvala’s red card against Brazil, we had to move things around. We pushed Motupa up to attack and played Kwanda Mngonyama and Deolin Mekoa in holding midfield but this didn’t work for us. Maybe we should have tried a different combination,’ added Da Gama.
‘A win would have eased the pressure of progressing to the next round after all four teams were tied on a point each from the first matches. We really let it slip against Denmark, and now we have made it tougher for ourselves.
‘But not all is lost yet. We still have the final group stages match which will determine our fate in the competition. We know it won’t be easy but we are still confident we will make it to the quarter-finals.’
Denmark are top of the group with four points. Iraq and Brazil are tied on two points apiece following their goalless draw in the other match also played on Sunday night, while South Africa are bottom of the table with just one point.
Da Gama’s charges travel to Sao Paulo on Monday to face Iraq at the Corinthians Arena. That match is on Wednesday at 10pm local time (3am SA time).


1 comments
Mickey J Wild
Mickey J Wild

Why does the soccer team not represent all people if South Africa. Can't tell me there no Indians that want to play in the SA team. Owe and whites.