JOHANNESBURG - Kaitano Tembo at the weekend hesitated throwing his name in the hat to be considered for the vacant SuperSport United coaching job.
The 47-year-old held the post in the interim after Eric Tinkler resigned due to poor results in March and club CEO Stan Matthews said at the time Tembo would be given the gig permanently, should he turn their fortunes around.
Although SuperSport managed to avoid relegation play-offs on the final day of the Absa Premiership season by beating Baroka FC 1-0 on Saturday afternoon, Tembo has been far from convincing in the dugout in his longest spell as a caretaker coach, having previously held that position on several occasions in the past.
Perhaps that is why he seemed reluctant to say he was keen to step up with absolute certainty. “I think what is important is the club,” said Tembo when asked whether he would apply for the coaching job.
“When they said to me jump in (following Tinkler’s resignation), I did not apply. The club has to make decisions which are good for the club going forward. It is not about individuals.
"We have to put those things aside and make sure we give the club a bit of time to go through that before people can start throwing in names. I have been at this club for quite some time and I know the culture of the team. What got us where were are is because we work as a collective.”
He insisted it was “not the right time” to be punting himself to be SuperSport coach, but was more open to discussing the reasons for the close brush with relegation this season.
“Everyone needs to sit down and think long and hard because it has been a stressful campaign," explained Tembo. "We were all not thinking too far ahead because we needed to deal with this situation first.
"We have a big break now - two months. It’s quite a long time to sit down and see which areas need improving. I was in charge of seven (league) games and I will give my own report about those games.
“It is difficult to have to think long-term when we could have possibly gone into the play-offs. So, we deserve a bit of time to really look back at what happened. Look at how hard the players fought for the club. You can’t now tell them tomorrow that there will be a squad overhaul. We need to respect that. I think we have a squad here.
"Yes, we can always try and improve it in certain areas. Sometimes you can have the best squad and still not do well, it happens. It’s been a difficult seven games, but I have to give credit to the players for their attitude and how they fought for the club to survive.”