Psychology helped Da Gama stay in the game

Owen da Gama, Highlands Park coach
Owen da Gama, Highlands Park coach

The harmful effects of consecutively losing football matches could actually end a coach's career.

Owen da Gama was under enormous pressure after his club - Highlands Park - lost three matches one after the other.

There were speculations that should Highlands lose their fixture match against Baroka last Saturday, the man who has done so well with that no-big-name club, would be unemployed.

Luckily for him, they beat Bakgaga via a 1-0 scoreline at Makhulong Stadium, but Da Gama revealed that he had had to undergo psychological therapy prior to their game.

"The club had a motivational period last week; we had a psychologist - the daughter of club director Brad Kattel - who did a marvelous job talking to the players. I also went for counselling and it helped," said Da Gama whose club had lost to Kaizer Chiefs (0-3); Stellenbosch (1-4) and 1-3 to Orlando Pirates.

Those results saw the Lions of the North slump down to No 11 on the table but their victory on Saturday saw them make the top eight spot.

Da Gama sang the praises of Mlungisi Mbunjana for his sterling performance at the weekend.

"I have always believed in Mbunjana; where he came from he played a different role more as an actor but we knew that his thrust going forward is very powerful," he said.

"He proved it against Pirates and also on Saturday; he's so powerful and so strong. It's nice to see a player eventually coming through. It's a process getting players to optimise their challenge."

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