JOHANNESBURG - SuperSport United coach Keitano Tembo has backed new winger Ghampani Lungu to deliver for the Tshwane-based team this season after his move from Zambian outfit Power Dynamos - where he scored 16 goals and registered 22 assists last campaign.
Lungu made his debut for SuperSport against AmaZulu in the Absa Premiership last weekend and played in their 4-3 penalty shootout win over Orlando Pirates in their MTN 8 title defence opener; with the 19-year-old attacking midfielder playing as a wing-back. Tembo explained that this tactical decision was based on the shortage of defensive players due to the team’s injury crisis.
“There’s still a lot to come from him,” Tembo said. “Rightfully, he’s an attacker but we lost Grant (Kekana), so we didn’t have another option. But I could see that he’s one boy with hunger and desire to succeed wherever he plays.
"Against Pirates, he made mistakes here and there because it was not his natural position. But I am really happy for him. I think when he plays in his natural position, he’ll score many goals because he’s a natural goal scorer.”
Matsantsantsa a Pitori are yet to find an ideal replacement for Jeremy Brockie following his transfer to Mamelodi Sundowns in January. Evans Rusike hasn’t done much since coming into the team from Maritzburg United.
But thanks to the Tendai Ndoro registration saga, SuperSport found themselves back in the running for their second MTN8 title in as many years. Given that Lungu and Rusike have been with the team during the pre-season for the first time, SuperSport might have the ability to revive some of last season’s success.
“I drew up a plan for our pre- season,” Tembo said. “I think what we’ve been doing now is what started towards the end of last season. We’ve been working very well, and I don’t think there’s anything that has really changed. “We’ve also tried to trim our squad because we are not playing in Africa anymore. So it’s been challenging because we had to rest some of the players as we played three games in the past seven days.”
SuperSport came under a lot of criticism for their disappointing run in the Absa Premiership last term, with coach Eric Tinkler resigning amid reports that he had lost the faith of the dressing room. The club brought in Lungu, veteran goalkeeper Washington Arubi, James Keene, Luke Fleurs as well as Phumlani Ntshangase to beef up their squad. Despite their having lost the experienced goalkeeper Reyaad Pieterse to Sundowns, Tembo is happy with the team’s improvement so far.
“The most important thing for us is to take things game-by-game. We are not really looking ahead of ourselves,” he explained. “What pleases us is to see an improvement each and every game. And I’ve seen that improvement already, since our first game of the season. We have to also tried to manage what we have well as we had some key players start on the bench against Pirates because they played mid-week.”@Mihlalibaleka