Highland Park's Owen da Gama can't stop raving about Mothobi Mvala

Mothobi Mvala of Highlands Park FC celebrating their equalizer during the Absa Premiership match between Bloemfontein Celtic and Highlands Park at Dr. Molemela Stadium on April 25, 2017 in Bloemfontein.
Mothobi Mvala of Highlands Park FC celebrating their equalizer during the Absa Premiership match between Bloemfontein Celtic and Highlands Park at Dr. Molemela Stadium on April 25, 2017 in Bloemfontein.
Image: Charle Lombard/Gallo Images

Mothobi Mvala‚ the midfield dynamo whose long-range belter and forcefulness in the engine room set up Highlands Park’s 4-0 thrashing of Jomo Cosmos on Saturday‚ is a “quality player”‚ Park coach Owen Da Gama has said.

Highlands have been fortunate to hold onto South Africa Under-23 international Mvala.

The box-to-box player’s contributions in central midfield‚ including seven goals‚ have played a role in the team who were relegated from the Premier Soccer League last season having a nine-point lead in the National First Division with nine game to go.

“I think he’s a quality player. I had the privilege of working with him in the Olympics‚ when we (the SA Under-23s) drew with Brazil and he got a red card‚” Da Gama said.

“So I know him very well and there’s a good relationship there.

“But there are a lot of other (Highlands) players who have really come to the party. Players who people had written off.

“You give them an opportunity and they get there. But there’s still a lot of work to be done.”

Mvala’s 32nd-minute drive struck into the top-right corner put Cosmos on the back foot‚ and three goals followed.

The midfielder‚ who was red-carded when Da Gama’s U-23s impressively matched hosts Brazil 0-0 in the opening game of the 2016 Rio Olympics‚ had been teed up at Vosloorus Stadium on Saturday by big striker Moeketsi Sekola.

Da Gama said the return in January of Sekola‚ a PSL top scorer with 14 goals for Free State Stars in 2014-15‚ from loan at Chippa United has also added impetus to Highlands’ promotion challenge.

“The return of Sekola has really helped us. The quality he has got‚ the experience‚” Park’s coach said.

“And also the other guys are learning off him. Even if he doesn’t score. Like he created Mvala’s goal.”

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