Da gama for Ea lla koto?

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Owen Da Gama is expected to be unveiled as director of coaching at Premiership outfit Free State Stars in Bethlehem this morning.

The former Orlando Pirates coach is expected to start the new job on Monday.

Sowetan has learnt that the two parties had a lengthy meeting in Sandton yesterday where Ea Lla Koto chairman Mike Mokoena offered the former Platinum Stars coach the job.

Approached for comment, a reluctant Mokoena confirmed late yesterday that they were in search of a coach with massive experience in local soccer to be in charge of their coaching staff.

"There are a number of prominent coaches that we have been talking to in the past few days because we want that person to start before the 2008-2009 Premiership season kick-off.

"Some of them are South Africans, but we also have a few others with African soccer experience working in other countries on the continent who have submitted their applications."

Asked if Da Gama was also one of the coaches interviewed for the position, Mokoena said: "It is true that Owen is one of the people that we are talking to, I have a lot of respect for him as a coach.

"We met him this morning [yesterday] and we will talk again. The person we are looking for will work closely with David Duncan [Stars' new head coach from Ghana].

"He will also be in charge of all the activities relating to our development programme. We have just received a sponsorship from Bonitas, that is why I have decided that we should also prioritise our development programme.

"We have the money and there is no reason why we should not produce our own players. There is a lot of money in local soccer now, Free State Stars must also start challenging for silverware on a serious note."

Da Gama, who has also played soccer locally for Dynamos and Moroka Swallows, could not be reached for comment at the time of going to press. He was linked to a coaching job at Bloemfontein Celtic, which has since been taken up by Mich D'Avray.

The man also known as "Rubberdoll" in local circles quit Pirates three months ago after writing to chairman Irvin Khoza where he asked to be relieved off his duties, saying he has failed to take the club to greater heights.

l Stars struck a three-year deal with Bonitas yesterday believed to be worth about R25 million.