Owen da Gama rues South Africa under-23 missed opportunities in front of goal in Denmark defeat


The junior national team have now gone 180 minutes without a goal in Olympic football after suffering a 1-0 defeat to Denmark on Monday morning.

Despite dominating possession and creating numerous goal scoring opportunities in the first half, Da Gama's troops failed to get the ball into the back of the net as they struck the woodwork on three seperate occassions.

The result gave Da Gama a slight sense of déjà vu from Sydney 2000, but he also credited Danish goalkeeper Jeppe Hojbjerg, who pulled off a few great saves to thwart the South African attackers.

“Look it is football. We understand that sometimes you can have all the possession and create all the chances, I mean, we hit the post three times,” Da Gama said during the post-match press conference.

“Their goalkeeper made some fantastic saves but, to be fair, Denmark created chances as well.

"I think it was not a good day in the office for us, in terms of playing our normal football that we are used to playing.

“It just reminded me of the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, when we beat Brazil and then lost to Japan and Slovakia [in the other two group matches].

“So I don't know... At the end of the day maybe the luck [was not on our side], but I'm happy that we created scoring chances.”

Da Gama also added that they missed the services of Mothobi Mvala, who was suspended after being sent off against Brazil, as Kwanda Mngonyama failed to give a good account of himself in the holding midfield role.

“I think we were not strong in the midfield as we are normally are," he added. "We were hoping to bring Ntshangase on because he normally plays in the middle.

"And he came in second half towards the end because the right-back Abbubaker Mobara was struggling with his hamstring, so we had to wait and see whether he [Ntshangase] would play on the right or in the middle.

"But Mvala is our holding midfielder and I think we missed him him today. Fortunatel he will be back for our next game and we will keep working hard on trying to get it right, but I agree we were very poor in the midfield today.”