Owen Da Gama, coach of Highlands Park, says his team has already started to adjust to the demans of top-flight football. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix
Owen Da Gama, coach of Highlands Park, says his team has already started to adjust to the demans of top-flight football. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix
Highland Park's Mothobi Mvala celebrates after scoring against Golden Arrows on Sunday. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Highland Park's Mothobi Mvala celebrates after scoring against Golden Arrows on Sunday. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

DURBAN - Highlands Park coach Owen da Gama is adamant that the harder they work, the more chance of having luck on their side. Since returning to top-flight football this season, Da Gama and his troops recorded their first win in the Absa Premiership as they beat Golden Arrows by  2 -1 at home on Sunday. That win ensured that they are still one of the unbeaten teams in the league, together with Mamelodi Sundowns and Bloemfontein Celtic.

“We are still trying to settle in the PSL, because I don’t think we are where we want to be,’’ Da Gama said. “It was always crucial that we get our first win at home. The people that must take credit are the players that went in there and fought. I think luck was also on our side, with the couple of chances that we got. I mean they say, 'the harder you work, the luckier you get'. We really worked very hard to be where we are.”

In their last three draws, against Orlando Pirates, Black Leopards and Baroka, the Lions of the North conceded late equalisers due to lapses of concentration from their defence. It is something that was likely expected from a team that gave top-flight football debuts to a handful of young guns. But having managed to keep Arrows’ from getting back into the game after being 2-1 up leading to half-time, Da Gama is convinced that his relatively new team is maturing.

“We’ve learnt our lessons in conceding in the last minute,’’ he insisted. “I think for us not concede in the last minutes against Arrows was a very huge improvement from the players side. We have about 9-10 players who are playing for the first time in the PSL, and they’ll adapt quite differently. Slowly but surely we have to settle to the demands of the PSL.’’

The Tembisa-based club was also bolstered by the return of team’s top goal scorer Peter Shalulile after a long-term injury that resulted to him missing the start of the new campaign. But to ensure that they have the experience to compete, both in defence and attack, the 57-year-old coach also confirmed that the signature of former Pirates striker Tendai Ndoro is imminent, while another former Bucs’ player Issa Sarr is currently training with the club. 

“Tendai (Ndoro) has been training with the team, and he’s a big player, and a big player comes with a big price-tag,’’ Da Gama explained. “So it’s now between the management and his agent to take things further, but we will see what happens because I definitely like him. He’s a player that can score goals and with his experience, he can definitely help us. We are also still allowing Issa Sarr to settle in because he’s recently started training with the team but the negotiations are definitely going on.’’


IOL Sport

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