Test for da gama

Linda Moreotsene

Linda Moreotsene

New Bloemfontein Celtic coach Owen da Gama has his work cut out for him in his first game this weekend when his team visits Platinum Stars at Olen Park.

Kickoff is at 8pm. Not only does Da Gama have to figure out at the earliest possible moment what to do to get Celtic away from the relegation zone, he also has to worry about facing teams of Stars and Mamelodi Sundowns' calibre within five days of each other.

Stars - who Da Gama dumped for Orlando Pirates two seasons ago - seem to have shaken off the apathy that led them through a string of bad results, and have looked a lot better with a 2-0 away win to Sundowns and a 2-2 draw with Kaizer Chiefs.

"In our last match, a draw against Chiefs, the boys played very badly in the first half. But they showed a lot of character by fighting back and scoring those two goals to equalise," Stars coach Miguel Gamondi said. "But Celtic players have a lot to prove to their new coach and struggling teams can be the most dangerous."

Gamondi will look to the likes of Muzi Mkalipa, goalkeeper Tapiwa Kapini and Colombian striker Luis Renteria in the absence of George Mofokeng, Stanley Kgatla and Michael Khaile.

Da Gama will have to do without Billy Ratsoana and Soul Mmethi, who are both out with knee injuries, but the likes of Kleinbooi Taaibos and Patrick Malokase should be able to handle the heat.

"We are treating the match with the respect it deserves. We are underdogs and under pressure and it's going to be tough and an uphill battle for us," Da Gama said.