OWEN DA GAMA will have to vacate his post as Bafana Bafana assistant coach and coach of the SA Under-23 squad.
This was revealed by new Bafana head coach Stuart Baxter at the weekend.
Da Gama was appointed in July 2014 as former coach Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba’s assistant and the SA U-23 coach.
Baxter last Thursday named his 25-man squad to play Nigeria, in what will be a tough baptism for the Scot, in Uyo on 10 June in Bafana’s opening 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
Baxter said he would bring in his own technical team. He explained: “I have nothing personal or any malice towards Owen. It would not be right for me to have the person who was in the job before me as my assistant.”
Names such as Steve Komphela and Roger de Sa were mentioned but Baxter stated: “We can throw in a lot of names, but yes, I would consider Steve if he was available. But he is under contract with Kaizer Chiefs.”
He also stated he wanted to bring in a young coach as his second assistant.
“I will be looking at a former Bafana player to mentor for the future,” he said.
He is likely to keep current SA Under-20 coach Thabang Senong and make him the new SA U-23 coach. Senong guided Amajita to the Fifa Youth World Cup which is being played at present in South Korea.
Said Baxter: “I like the fact that Thabo has got his side to the World Cup. I’m not worried by the fact that the side bombed out after the first round.
There were a lot of positives, and players gained valuable international experience which will benefit us in the future.”
He said speculation that he wanted to bring his son Lee on board as the new goalkeeping coach was not true – but did not ruled out Lee who works for SportSport United.
Explained Baxter: “I’ll appoint the best man for the job at the right price.
“Lee has worked hard over the last nine years and has done well at SuperSport. But the goalkeeper coach will be appointed on merit, not because he’s my son.”
He said he had consulted a number of club coaches before selecting his first squad, and would continue to have a dialogue with club coaches in future.
Asked about his head coach salary, he told the Sunteam: “I’m not here for the money. I earn what top coaches get in South Africa.”