local soccer 15.7.2015 01:56 pm

Da Gama upbeat ahead of Zimbabwe clash

Owen da Gama (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)

Owen da Gama (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)

South African under-23 coach Owen da Gama says he is confident of chalking up a positive result when his charges take on Zimbabwe in an Olympic qualifier in Harare’s Rufaro Stadium on Sunday.

Da Gama said it would have been ideal to play an international friendly with a Cosafa opposition ahead of the trip to Harare but was still in no doubt, the squad had what it takes to return from Harare with a positive outcome.

“Overall, I think we have made the best out of the two weeks the squad has been in camp,” said Da Gama.

“It would have been perfect to have one friendly match against one top COSAFA opposition but that does not take away our focus of doing well in Harare. We have had three practice matches against Free State Stars, Highlands Park and Amatuks and all those games gave us an idea of which areas we need to work on,” he said.

Da Gama said the camp had been boosted by the arrival of former Bafana Bafana striker and Golden Arrows coach Shaun Bartlett and goalkeeper coach Deshi Baktawer to shape the squad into a winning unit.

“It is always great to be surrounded by such great football minds. They add a lot of value to the squad and as we round off our preparations, the mood in the camp is sky high. It is buzzing and that is what you need when headed for tough battles.”

The under-23s will have two training sessions on Wednesday – in the morning and afternoon – at Nike Centre in Soweto and the last one at home on Thursday before flying out to Harare on Friday morning.

They will have two training sessions in Zimbabwe; one on Friday and the last one on Saturday afternoon at the match venue.

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