"It's only my second season" as Tembo preaches calm
JOHANNESBURG – Kaitano Tembo preached humility after SuperSport United got the better of their cross-town rivals Mamelodi Sundowns to advance to the final of the MTN8 for the third year in a row.
The 2-0 win on Wednesday night ensured that SuperSport got to the final with a 3-1 win on aggregate, setting up a clash with Highlands Park at Orlando Stadium on 5 October.
What would have made this victory sweeter for Tembo is that it came against his mentor Pitso Mosimane - someone who coached him at SuperSport and helped him find his feet in his coaching career.
“I have history with coach Pitso,” Tembo said.
“He is someone that I respect and know personally as a coach. He is someone who is very passionate about his game and his work. It’s pleasing to have won this match, especially because of how Sundowns have been dominating us over the years. Derbies are always key, and in our quest to turn things around and be competitive - we have to do well in this game.
I am pleased but at the same time it doesn’t really mean anything for me personally, probably for the club it means something because he has achieved a lot and I am just in my second season as head coach. I haven’t really won anything.”
The stand-out player in SuperSport’s march to the final has been Thamsanqa Gabuza. The former Orlando Pirates striker has fitted in seamless at Matsantsantsa. His aerial strength, work ethic and hold-up play has come in handy for SuperSport who have had a bright start to the 2019/20 season.
“Gabuza is one player I have always admired, especially when he was still at Golden Arrows,” Tembo said.
“His work ethic is unbelievable. He is a very good outlet. Even when he was playing at Orlando Pirates, he was always a problem. I always used to worry when I see him come on because I knew that your defence isn’t going to rest when he is around. That’s what he gives us. He fits in very well in our structure because he has a good work ethic and at the same time he needs to be appreciated.
Given a little bit of love, that’s what we are trying to give him so that he can really express himself. He will make mistakes, we understand that, but we need to give him a little bit of encouragement and love.”
Guiding SuperSport to the final of the most lucrative cup competition in the country would be a massive boost for Tembo who is in only his second season as head coach. He took over a team that had won the MTN8 and Nedbank Cup under coach Stuart Baxter but had finished poorly in the league.
He stabilised things, brought young players into the team and reached the final of the MTN8 which he lost to Cape Town City last season. He can amend that disappointment when they take on the Lions of the North.
“We are a very ambitious club,” Tembo said.