da gama quits

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Coach Owen da Gama has quit Free State Stars after rejecting an offer to return to the position of technical director following the team's poor start to the season.

Themba Sithole, the longest-serving employee of Ea Lla Koto, where he also served as a player, has been appointed new coach of the club. Sithole rejoins Stars from First Division side Carara Kicks.

David Vilakazi is elevated to the position of head coach at Kicks, who are owned by Motebang Mokoena, the son of Stars' chairman Mike Mokoena.

Da Gama, who has also coached Platinum Stars and Orlando Pirates, is reported to have openly rejected the new position offered to him by Mike Mokoena.

This was after Sunday's 3-2 win over newcomers Bay United in Welkom, which was Stars' first win this season with Da Gama on the bench.

Prior to the Welkom match, Stars had grabbed only one point from their three opening Absa Premiership matches and alarm bells were ringing.

"We are parting ways. We offered him [Owen] to go back to the technical director post, which is the original job we recruited him for," said Mike Mokoena.

"Owen said no to our offer, saying he won't work with another person. Subsequent to that, Owen informed us that he was leaving.

"In terms of our contract, he has to serve three months' notice. I pleaded with him to serve it, but he was not interested too.

"The matter will be dealt with by our lawyers. All I can tell you is that we have appointed Themba to be our new head coach.

"We are confident Themba will do a great job for us as usual, we have a great team hungry for success," added Mokoena.

Da Gama, who was reported to be earning R85 000 a month, could not be reached for comment.

He joined Stars in August as a technical director, with Ghanaian David Duncan the coach. But Duncan resigned immediately after Da Gama's arrival.