HIGHLANDS Park coach Owen Da Gama has rubbished allegations that he had an altercation with Bevan Fransman which led to the veteran defender being sidelined.
SunSport has reliably learnt that Fransman, who joined Highlands from Maritzburg United, allegedly had a bust-up with Da Gama after he asked the coach why he was suddenly dropped from the starting lineup for the last two league games.
The 34-year-old played the entire time in Highlands’ Absa Premiership games against Orlando Pirates (1-1) and Black Leopards (2-2).
But Da Gama preferred the pairing of Sello Motsepe and Junior Sibande in central defence in their matches against Mamelodi Sundowns and Baroka FC, while Fransman warmed the bench.
Said the source: “Bevan was surprised that he was suddenly not in the team. The coach shouted at him when he asked why he was dropped from the starting lineup.”
However, Da Gama says Fransman was dropped because he struggled to adapt to his system.
He added: “First, Bevan started pre-season training late, as he played in the Nedbank Cup final (for Maritzburg United against Free State Stars). We wanted to give him more rest. When he started pre-season he had a hamstring injury and was out for two-and-a-half weeks. He played against Pirates and Baroka but struggled to adapt. We then played Sibande against Sundowns and he got Man of the Match.
“That’s why he played again the next match. I never had an altercation with Bevan – whoever started this allegations is trying to sully my name.”
Da Gama revealed that club boss Larry Brookstone helped Fransman understand his omission. “Larry spoke to Bevan and said ‘are you getting the picture of how we play now?’ and he said ‘yes’. I played him in a friendly against Maccabi (National First Division) on Monday.”
However, Brookstone was defensive when contacted for comment, also threatening to take legal action against SunSport should the story be published.
This is what Brookstone said when asked about the alleged bust-up between the coach and Fransman: “That’s absolute rubbish.”
He went on: “This kind of reporting will destroy our team. Bevan is used in a new position and the coach took the decision to play him there. That’s malicious reporting, once the story is published we will take action.”
Meanwhile, Da Gama revealed that striker Moeketsi Sekola will need to double his efforts to be considered for the team. Sekola has yet to play this season, spending his time in the stands.
“I have four strikers in the team and Sekola has to fight for his position. I told him to pull up his socks.”
Highlands are also assessing striker Tendai Ndoro, who is hoping to secure a contract with the team.
Said Brookstone: “Ndoro is training with the club, so what? Once we are satisfied about what we are looking for we will sign him.”