JOHANNESBURG - Kaitano Tembo, the SuperSport United coach who has a lot of eyes on him to succeed having recently signed a two-year contract at the club, said their Absa Premiership defeat away to Cape Town City two weeks ago was a “false start”.
He was speaking after Matsatsantsa registered a third win in a row and back-to-back league victories by beating high riding Bidvest Wits 1-0 on Saturday night. Tembo, although he’d been within the SuperSport structures since retiring as their player as well as captain in 2006 and being asked to be an interim coach on several occasions, had not been entirely expected to get the job permanently.
But the search to fill the vacant post proved harder than his bosses anticipated and he was then asked to carry on from where he left off last season following the resignation of Eric Tinkler in March.
“We had a false start against Cape Town City,” Tembo, recalling the 2-0 defeat in their league opener, said. SuperSport bounced back with wins over AmaZulu and Orlando Pirates, whom they knocked out of the MTN8 over a week ago.
“Since that game we have been improving as a team. I am very happy about that. I think we are playing well as a unit. We were always having a few chances, but it was the final pass that wasn’t getting there, especially on transition. We couldn’t get that pass off because we have speedy wingers in Thuso (Phala) and Evans (Rusike). They need that final pass to be behind the defence.”
SuperSport will now prepare to face a struggling Kaizer Chiefs side on Sunday in the first leg of their MTN8 semi-final clash at the Lucas Moripe Stadium. Tembo said beating Wits, who had managed to win all their opening three league matches, was significant as they attempt to defend their top eight title.
“This gives us less pressure in terms of us preparing for the MTN8, and two days after that we are playing Chippa United in a league match, where we are putting emphasis (that they have to do well) because we saw what happened last season. We had to fight to avoid relegation. We don’t want to repeat that,” the coach said.
Chiefs have been losing steam and failing to pick up any sort of momentum in their league matches under recently appointed coach Giovanni Solinas. A 10-man Maritzburg United side held Amakhosi to a goalless draw on Friday night, leaving Solinas without a win in the league. There is an incredible amount of pressure on the Italian to end their three years trophy drought.
“I don’t think we are under less pressure than Chiefs are ahead of the semi-final game. No matter how you look at it, there is always pressure. It will be a tough game. They are in the semi-finals because they did well to beat Free State Stars, irrespective of their league form. We know cup games are different.” said Tembo.