Owen Da Gama
|Full name||Owen Joao Cornelius Da Gama|
|Date of birth||18 August 1961|
|Place of birth||Volksrust, South Africa|
|Height||1.7 m (5 ft 7 in)|
|Arcadia Shepherds Juniors|
|2008||Free State Stars|
|2014–||South Africa (Assistant Coach)|
|2014–||South Africa U23 (Head Coach)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.|
Da Gama began his playing career with Arcadia Shepherds F.C.Juniors u15, Colchester United (NPSL), Pretoria Callies and Dynamos where he moved to with Pretoria Callies Danish coach, the late Kai Johansson. Jahansson and Dan Manuel arranged for trials at Belgian club Beerschot in 1985, where he signed a three year deal.
After one and a half seasons and with new coach, Yugoslav, Davidovich, he was loaned out to League of Ireland team Derry City with the new coach bringing in 2(two)more foreign players. During his time at Derry City, he won the League of Ireland First Division Shield where he scored a hattrick in the final and the League of Ireland First Division where he was top goal scorer of the club and league. Da Gama was also named the PFAI First Division Player of the Year for the 1985–86 season and made a permanent move. Da Gama was the only player in Ireland with his own Fan Club.
He was than snapped up in 1989 by Spanish First Division Club Figueress. He was refused a work permit due to the Sports Embargo by the Spanish on all South Africans. Da Gama was lured back to South Africa by the wealthy club owner Errol Hughes of Durban Leeds Utd as player/coach where Leeds escaped relegation and went on to the BOBSAVE semi finals against Orlando Pirates in 1989 which Leeds lost on penalties.
At the end of that season Da Gama was signed by Moroka Swallows a move orchestrated by Abdul Bhamjee and David Pine Chabeli. He scored two goals and assisted in two more in a 5–1 victory against Mamelodi Sundowns in the 1989 Bob Save Super Bowl final replay and was named as Player of the Series. Swallows went on to win the Top Eight the following season as well as retaining the Bob Save Super Bowl in 1990. Some references being made as the best Swallows team ever.
Da Gama ended his playing career due to a serious knee injury while with Dynamos with whom he won the JPS Cup in 1990.
Da Gama began coaching at his former club Dynamos with whom he had two spells. Firstly in 1992 under a Venda based Consortium he took the club from second bottom position to finish third on the log. His second spell was with the new owner Peter Rabali when the club won promotion to the Premier Soccer League in 1996. He moved to Silver Stars in 1998, guiding them to promotion from the Vodacom League to the National First Division at the first attempt. He was forced to leave the club at the end of that season in order to attend to his IT business in Pretoria. During this time, he coached and co-owned PSM Parkhurst in the Vodacom League and the club finished second on the log and formed part of the new Gauteng Vodacom League.
In 2000, Da Gama rejoined Silver Stars for a second spell, with the team choosing to train in Johannesburg and only travel to Venda for their matches. Under his management, the team won 9 of their 11 matches and avoided relegation from the National First Division. In the 2003 ABSA Cup, Silver Stars famously beat Orlando Pirates 2–0 in the second-round before losing to Jomo Cosmos in the quarter-finals. Silver Stars achieved promotion to the Premier Soccer League at the end of the 2002–03 season. The club achieved an 11th place finish in their debut campaign in the PSL and reached the Coca Cola Cup Final, losing 2-0 to Kaizer Chiefs.2003/2004 Stars ended 7th, 2004/2005 Stars ended 5th. He was named as PSL Coach of the Season at the end of the 2005-06 season. Da Gama led Silver Stars to victory in the 2006 Telkom Knockout Cup with Simba Marumo scoring a first-half hat-trick in a 3–1 win against Ajax Cape Town at the Atteridgeville Super Stadium. In the 2006-07 season, Silver Stars finished 2nd in the league and managed to achieve a place in the 2008 CAF Champions League.
In September 2007, he replaced Bibey Mutombo as the head coach of Orlando Pirates after 6 games of the season and the team at the bottom of the league standings. After only eight months in charge have taken over The Buccaneers ended Da Gama's only season in charge in 8th place - their worst ever position considering the bad pre season preparations and worst start in the PSL era under Bibey Mutombo. Da Gama quit the club in June 2008. He joined Free State Stars Da Gama joins Free State Stars as Director of Coaching and briefly takes over as stand in coach after David Duncan was fired. Da Gama resigned in October 2008.,. He joined Bloemfontein Celtic in December 2008, with the club in last place on the table and managed to help the team from bottom of the log to finish 14th in the 2008-09 season, avoiding the relegation play-offs thanks to goal difference. Da Gama led them to an improvement in the following season as they finished 6th. He left the club in July 2010.
Da Gama rejoined Platinum Stars in August 2010. He guided the team to a 10th place finish in the 2010-11 season after the club had ended the previous season in 14th positionduring, a crucial rebuilding phase with a budget cut of more than 40 percent. The following season was marred by allegations that he solicited bribes from his players in order to select them in the team. Da Gama himself instantly requested an investigation and surprisingly, Da Gama was suspended in March 2012 pending an investigation. He was cleared of any wrongdoing in May 2012. He resigned as head coach of the club as his relationship with some club officials were felt not conducive to a further working relationship. The Club agreed to settle the remainder of his contract.
Da Gama joined Dynamos in November 2012 with the club winless after 6 matches and at the bottom of the National First Division log. He started by getting their first league win away to Santos (Cape Town) 1-0 and an impressive Cup win over log leaders Mpumalanga Black Aces 3-1, but left the club after only four months, in March 2013 with still 15 matches to play. Da Gama is known for his attacking style of coaching with solid defending as well as an eye for spotting talent such as Surprise Moriri,Thuso Phala, Koketso Mmotong, Sailor Tshabalala, Oscar Ntwagae, Edward Williams, Stanley Kgatla, Kgotso Moleko and Mathoho Mulomowndau to mention some.Da Gama was also instrumental in reviving the careers of Willem Jackson and Simba Morumo who both featured in the demolition of Ajax C.T.(3-1) in the final of the 2006 Telkom Cup with Jackson solid in defence and Marumo scoring a hatrick.
- League of Ireland First Division: 1
- Derry City F.C. 1986-87
- League of Ireland First Division Shield: 1
- Derry City F.C. 1985-86
- "PFAI FIRST DIVISION PLAYER OF THE YEAR". Retrieved 29 October 2013.
- "This is the ultimate match - Da Gama". IOL. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
- "Orlando Pirates embark on a journey". IOL. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
- "MTN8 Final: All you need to know!". Retrieved 29 October 2013.
- "About the NFD". Retrieved 29 October 2013.
- "Da Gama takes helm at Bucs". Retrieved 29 October 2013.
- "Da Gama leaves Pirates". Retrieved 29 October 2013.
- "Da Gama takes over hot seat at Stars". Retrieved 29 October 2013.
- "Da Gama quits Free State Stars". Retrieved 29 October 2013.
- "Da Gama is finally at Celtic". Retrieved 29 October 2013.
- "It's official; Da Gama out of Celtic". Retrieved 29 October 2013.
- "Stars finally confirm Da Gama is coach". Retrieved 29 October 2013.
- "Platinum Stars suspend Owen da Gama". Retrieved 29 October 2013.
- "Stars clear Owen Da Gama of bribery allegations". Retrieved 29 October 2013.
- "Da Gama is new Dynamos coach". Retrieved 29 October 2013.
- "Murape Takes Dynamos Coaching Job". Retrieved 29 October 2013.