With players like Innocent Mdledle, Tshepo Leshabane, Happy Jele, Lehlohonolo Seema, Kelebogile Mabe, Tonic Chabalala, Mpho Rashete and Kelebogile Mabe all fit, Da Gama has enough depth to field a solid back-line with sufficient cover on the bench when the second round of the Absa Premiership kicks off.
It seems, however, that ‘Rubber Doll’s’ biggest concern at the moment is his second string side that struggled against Second Division Bonani African Stars in a practice match this week.
Da Gama was visibly furious at his charges following their dismal performance against an unfancied outfit.
“This is totally unacceptable. I am very disappointed and it’s about time some of the players show professionalism and choose whether they want to play for Orlando Pirates or ship out,” he told the club’s website.
“I really don’t understand how on earth we failed to punish a small team that visibly suffered stage-fright and could barely string three passes. I am disappointed, very disappointed.
“I don’t want to pick on my players in public, but it’s about time some guys came to the party. I am trying to give everyone a chance to prove themselves which is why we play these friendlies without our regular players,” he fumed.
A match report on the website indicates that Bucs’ second stringers flattered to deceive when they shot to a 2-0 first half lead but in the end Keanon Thomas and Rudzani Ramudzuli’s strikes was all they could muster against the stubborn semi-professionals.
Instead, it was Stars who responded when they scored their consolation through 22-year-old Cameroonian international, Ettienne Massoye.
With both defences exposed to sporadic attacks, mistakes were bound to happen and they did as both sides conceded penalties. Bucs were the first to be awarded the spot-kick when Thomas was fouled inside the box.
Joseph “Shakira” Kamwendo stepped up to take the kick but could only hang his head in anguish as Stars’ keeper Samuel Aluko saved.
Owen da Gama could barely hide his frustration at that stage.
Ten minutes later, goalkeeper Sami Mujabi fouled Massoye in a one-on-one situation and the referee pointed to the spot. The Ugandan redeemed himself when he saved Massoye’s kick.
Mujabi was finally beaten in the last seven minutes of the match when Massoye soared above Bucs’ defence and directed his header to the far post.