Head coach of the South African Men’s Olympic Team says they let themselves down in the 1-0 loss to Denmark in their second match of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
The clash took place on Sunday, 7 August 2016 at the Mane Garrincha Stadium in Brasilia.
The South Africans created a lot of chances in the game but failed to convert any of them, now they find themselves at the bottom of Group A.
“To a certain extent luck was not on our side, however, we let ourselves down – no two ways about it. We created so many chances but could not convert any of them. At some point we had the edge, we were on top of Denmark. (Keagan) Dolly and (Gift) Motupa were unfortunate not to score after their shots hit the woodwork.
I also think players need to raise their hands when called to represent their country. There were times when I felt that there was no sense of urgency from some indivuduals. In some situations they should have been brave and take players on, but they didn’t.”
The Men’s Olympic Team adds that the red card against them in the first match played a key role in match day team selection.
“Following Mothobi Mvala’s red card against Brazil, we had to move things around. We pushed Motupa up to attack and played Kwanda Mngonyama and Deolin Mekoa in holding midfield but this didn’t work for us. Maybe we should have tried a different combination,” added Da Gama.
“A win would have eased the pressure of progressing to the next round after all four teams were tied on a point each from the first matches. We really let it slip against Denmark, and now we have made it tougher for ourselves, but not all is lost yet. We still have the final group stages match which will determine our fate in the competition. We know it won’t be easy but we are still confident we will make it to the quarterfinals.”
Denmark is top of the group with four points. Iraq and Brazil are tied on two points apiece following their goalless draw in the other match also played on Sunday night, while South Africa is bottom of the table with just one point.
Da Gama’s charges travel to Sao Paulo today (Monday, 8 August) to face Iraq at the Corinthians Arena.
The clash takes place on Wednesday, 10 August.
Kickoff is at 22h00 local time (03h00 Thursday, 11 August SA Time).