Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter and new assistant coach Quinton Fortune look on during a training session. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu /BackpagePix
Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter and new assistant coach Quinton Fortune look on during a training session. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu /BackpagePix
Owen Da Gama watches over training during his time as Bafana Bafana interim coach. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Owen Da Gama watches over training during his time as Bafana Bafana interim coach. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

DURBAN - The South African Football Association (SAFA) have parted ways with Owen da Gama.

Da Gama was South Africa's Under-23 coach, also served as an assistant coach to the former Bafana coach Ephriam "Shakes" Mashaba and then served as interim coach after 
Mashaba was shown the door for what was deemed as insubordination.

Da Gama, Thabo Senong and Molefi Ntseki remained with the association despite the departure of the senior national team coach. 

Senong was Mashaba's second assistant coach. He also served as the coach of the Under-20 national team. 

Ntseki was the third assistant while he was also tasked with the work of heading the Under-17 coaching job.

SAFA Chief Operation Officer, Denis Mumble confirmed that Da Gama has been released.

"Clearly we have to release him," Mumble said about Da Gama. "The coach (Bafana Bafana head coach Stuart Baxter) has made his preferences known. He has made it clear that he will work with coach Thabo Senong and Quinton Fortune. "

"There's a programme that is under way and coach Senong is familiar with that. There's continuity in the team. We have released coach Da Gama. The contract of the assistant coaches are all tied together."

Da Gama has always maintained that his contract with Safa is expiring in June next year.

"No, the contracts are very clear, assistant coaches contract are tied to the tenure of the head coach and it is the new head coach who would then make his own preferences known to us," Mumble explained.

"Those things are written into their contracts. He is fully aware that he has been released. What we've always done and made it clearly is that assistant coaches' contracts are tied to the tenure of the head coach. 

"When the head coach separates from the association, the assistant coaches also separate from the association. Coaches have their own preferences as to who they chose to work with and make those recommendations to the association. This what is exactly what Stuart Baxter did."

Fortune and Senong were on the bench as Bafana were humiliated by Cape Verde home and away in World Cup qualifying games. They lost 2-1 in both matches which left their chances of qualifying for the World Cup in tatters. 

"I've heard my meetings and discussions with Da Gama. I don't want to talk about labour issues in the media and he is fully aware that we have released him. The process was clear," Mumble elaborated.

"We have included Quinton in our team. There's further discussion going on as to what other role will he play. He will be back to Manchester because there's scouting we want him to do. We will give him scouting responsibility in Europe. He will monitor our players and report back to us. 

"We will try and see how can we integrate him in one of our national team. That's the discussion we must still have in a little bit more detail. He is part of the national team selection. I won't mention which team he will take as yet. Part of that is still under discussion. 

"Quinton is still doing his professional licence right now and he acknowledges that he need to get some experience and that's what he is here for, to understudy Baxter. We will have a look at which team we can put him to so that he can work with Bafana players once or twice in every three months. It is not enough for him to wait for Bafana Bafana. He needs to be active in one of the junior teams."

Fortune is also an ambassador for his former team Manchester United. He currently holds a Uefa A Licence.

"Normally the technical team contract runs over a four period. From one World Cup cycle to another. This World Cup cycle ends next year. He is now to committed to us until the next World Cup. There after the coach will have to make recommendations for long term," Mumble explained.

Independent Media

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