Coach bids to clear the air after tipping Chiefs to win the Premiership title

Da Gama extends olive branch to Sundowns

Coach Owen Da Gama of Highlands Park during the Highlands Park media open day at Balfour Park Sports Ground on March 11, 2020 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Coach Owen Da Gama of Highlands Park during the Highlands Park media open day at Balfour Park Sports Ground on March 11, 2020 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

Former Highlands Park coach Owen da Gama has issued a heartfelt apology to treble-winning Mamelodi Sundowns.

The coach unreservedly apologised to the Brazilians for tipping Kaizer Chiefs to win the Premiership title ahead of Sundowns in the 2019-20 campaign.

The Tshwane-based outfit eventually pipped the Soweto giants to the league title on the final day of last season when they thumped Black Leopards 3-0, while on the other side Amakhosi were held to a 1-1 draw by Baroka.

Da Gama was vocal in his support for Chiefs to clinch the title, but he now regrets his words and wishes to take them back. The outspoken mentor believes that his words may have cost him a potential job at Sundowns.

“I want to teach people about the word extrapolation when you say one word and others take something out of it and use it the wrong way. I said, based on what was happening at the time, it would be good for Chiefs to go on and win it, not because I hate Sundowns.

"I said if Chiefs win the league title, it would be good for South African football in general. I categorically want to apologise to Sundowns because my words upset influential people in their camp. I want to say that I’m sorry,” said Da Gama.

The former Moroka Swallows striker says he could have been considered for a possible job offer at the 10-time league champions, but he feels that his words did more harm than good for his chances of joining them.

“I'm perceived as someone who hates Sundowns, and that is not true. I like both Chiefs and Sundowns in the same way. How am I supposed to work at Sundowns when everything is being blown out of proportion?” he asked.

Amakhosi drubbed Highlands Park 3-0 to mark their 50th-year birthday celebrations in January at the FNB Stadium, something which reduced Da Gama to a subject of scorn among the Downs faithful, who accused his side of not putting in effort and instead allegedly couldn't wait to be part of the festivities.

But the coach dismissed this as rubbish and ruinous to his reputation. He said that he also supports the appointment of the newly appointed co-coaches Manqoba Mngqithi and Rulani Mokwena at Sundowns. “I like Sundowns set-up and support their two coaches. I give them my 100% support and wish them well for the new season,” added Da Gama.

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