How Da Gama survives unemployment


In a country where unemployment is rife, a number of South African football club bosses are ‘impatient’ with coaches and desire positive results as fast as greased lightning and when results are not coming their way, they drop the axe.

Highlands Park coach Owen Da Gama is one of the many coaches that has been on the receiving end of the famous axe used by club bosses.

However, he has now learnt to have the right clauses in his contracts in order to receive a decent payout when he is shown the door. That allows the coach to survive the rainy days.

“The most important part of being a coach is that there must be a clause in your contract to protect you. It’s all about your contract. If it’s terminated before you’ve had an opportunity to implement everything before a period of time, then obviously there must be some payment and it must be well documented in the contract,” Da Gama told

“We coaches sometimes make the mistake of not going into proper contractual agreements with teams. That’s where we let ourselves down. If it’s just a probation period, then that’s something else. If it’s just a plain contract, then you must suffer the consequences of that.”

During the 2012/13 Premier Soccer League season, the trigger-happy Chippa United chairman Siviwe Mpengesi made six coaching changes and ended up being relegated to the National First Division (NFD), now known as the GladAfrica Championship.

In rainy days when Da Gama doesn’t receive a monthly salary, he is able to provide for his family through a farm he inherited from his father when he died.

“In my instance, I’ve been very fortunate that I’ve got a farm that will always be there for me. I’m focused on my job, but I know in rainy days the farm is there and I’ll just wait my time until another job comes around. I make sure that it’s totally independent from me. It can run by itself and I’m fortunate that my mom is still alive, and she takes care of business there.

“When I am out of a job, there’s no doubt in my mind that I can go to my farm and I can make a small living out of it and carry on with my life. I’m fortunate in that instance. But I still believe that as coaches, the contracts should protect not only the teams, but the coaches. Coaches should go into proper agreements with teams,” said the ‘Lions of the North’ mentor.

Former Bafana Bafana assistant coach.

“As hard as it may be, we as coaches need to make sure that we do save up money for rainy days, because there’s no guarantee that even if you get a payout, you’ll get the next job. Teams could be organised and all the coaches are doing well, and you have to wait for your turn to come. It could be a month, or it could be three years,” added the former Platinum Stars and Orlando Pirates coach.

“Then the coach must understand that anything can happen. Sometimes, we as coaches are hungry and we take any job because we are sort of desperate, you know. And that’s very unfortunate. I never want to take a job out of desperation. I’d rather suffer, you know,” concluded the 58-year-old coach.

By FARPost Reporter 

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