/ 6 November 2007

Da Gama has high hopes for Cosmos match

Jomo Cosmos and Orlando Pirates clash in round eight of the Absa Premier Soccer League at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Wednesday night, and Owen da Gama wants his charges to take all three points.

Da Gama, who joined Pirates a few days after his former club, Platinum Stars, drew 1-1 with Cosmos earlier this season, said it will be a tough assignment to beat Cosmos.

”Cosmos are a good football-playing side,” he said. ”Yes, they do tackle hard and are very physical, but they are a side that can knock the ball around and play simple effective football, without being fancy.”

Pirates are 11th on the league table with nine points from seven outings, and although it’s early days in the league, Da Gama wants the best result against Cosmos.

”It’s the league and we want three points; we can’t settle for less, but it’s not easy especially against the likes of Cosmos,” he said. ”And a win against Cosmos is something that’s hard-earned. It does not come easy at all.”

Since taking over at Bucs in September, Da Gama’s rejuvenated team won their next two league games convincingly, with striker Excellent Walaza netting four goals in two games. The South Africa Under-23 international has praised Da Gama for giving him the confidence to become a better player.

Despite the good start, Pirates lost 2-1 to Mamelodi Sundowns last Sunday at Loftus, although they went down playing attacking football. Their energy levels have upped since the arrival of Da Gama.

On the other hand, Cosmos — who drew 0-0 with Amazulu in their previous league outing — have been on-and-off in the league. They were held 0-0 by Bidvest Wits, then came to life in a pulsating game against Kaizer Chiefs that ended 1-1. Against SuperSport United they came out tops with a 2-1 win and then lost to Ajax Cape Town (1-0) and Free State Stars (1-0) to send them down to the bottom of the log.

With Pirates showing more verve in matches and Cosmos struggling to find a rhythm, the match should be an exciting encounter.

The game is scheduled to kick off at 7.30pm and will be shown live on SuperSport. — Sapa