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Disappointed Owen Da Gama blames poor defensive work for loss

Affable Highlands Park coach Owen Da Gama has chalked up their Wednesday's 3-0 loss to Kaizer Chiefs to their rather below-par defensive work, bemoaning the absence of some of his key players.

"I just believe that we defended very badly today [Wednesday], it is as simple as that. You can make excuses all day; I mean no left-back, all three of our left-backs [Ricardo Williams, Sifiso Mbhele and Lesenya Ramoraka] are out. We've never had such a casualty room like this season before," said Da Gama.

"Ryan Rae out, [Limbikani] Mzava out, [Lindokuhle] Mbatha out, so it also makes it very difficult when you rely on so-called big players in the team to try and carry the rest of the youngsters and they don't come to the party.

"Injuries are really a big problem, we couldn't put out the same consistent XI three games in a row this season [due to injuries]."

The Glamour Boys punished the Tembisa club through a Leonardo Castro brace, plus Eric Mathoho's overhead kick strike, cherry topping their 50th anniversary celebrations at FNB Stadium.

Interestingly, Chiefs' near-perfect display also allured Da Gama, prompting the Lions of the North mentor to wish Amakhosi well for their title fight. "I believe the Kaizer Chiefs players have the mentality to go all the way [and win the league] and I wish them all the best," said Da Gama.

"If Chiefs or Orlando Pirates win the league, Sundowns have won it a number of times, but if one of the Soweto giants win the league, it just augurs well for SA football. The amount of work that goes into this brand of Kaizer Chiefs is just unbelievable, it's just mind boggling."

Highlands hope to redeem themselves when they host struggling Stellenbosch at Makhulong Stadium tomorrow (3.30pm).

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