SuperSport United coach Eric Tinkler applauds after the Confederation Cup quarter-final victory over ZESCO United in Zambia. Photo: BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG - A slip of the tongue from Eric Tinkler revealed the SuperSport United coach’s ambitious side, which sees him chasing his second trophy in a space of two years.

Tinkler guided Cape Town City to glory in the Telkom Knockout in December last year at the expense of Matsatsantsa a Pitori. The Bafana Bafana legend will look to help SuperSport avenge that defeat in the MTN8 final at Moses Mabhida Stadium against his former team.

Shortly after that, Tinkler will travel to Tunisia looking to make history with Matsatsantsa by taking them to the final of the Caf Confederation Cup for the first time in the club’s history.

That would make him the first South African coach to do that after Coming close with Orlando Pirates in 2015.

“SuperSport United is a big club in my mind,” Tinkler said. “It’s a club that has been extremely successful since its foundation and has a very good squad of players. Coming here was an easy decision for me because it matched what I want, in terms of my career as an individual.

"I want to succeed. I want to win things. I want to be in finals. That’s where you measure yourself as a person and as a coach. For me, it made all the sense in the world coming to a good club like this. I am living my dream.

"We had to hit the ground running. We’ve done that. We’ve reached two finals. Well, we’ve got to one final (the MTN8). I am already saying that we are going to get to another final (in the Confederation Cup). That’s the target.”

Tinkler has every right to speak like this having earned his dues from cutting his teeth at Bidvest Wits, to coping in an environment with lots of pressure at Orlando Pirates and building a team from scratch with the Citizens.

That experience will come in handy in his ambition to not only help SuperSport win the MTN8 but also in their bid for the league title that has eluded them for seven years.

“It’s been a long coaching career, obviously, I had to start right at the bottom,” Tinkler said. “If anything, that’s aided me as a coach to learn more about myself and improve my coaching experience and my managerial experience. 

"I was given the opportunity to take teams on the interim basis, it happened at Wits and at Pirates. That gave me a chance to see where my strengths are.

"That foundation, it took me 11 years to get here, made me mature as a person - especially having gone through the transition from player to coach at Wits Everything I learned at Pirates and the pressure that comes with dealing with that helped me grow.”

While Tinkler has more than a decade of experience as a coach, he will come up against a coaching novice in Benni McCarthy as the two renew the rivalry that saw them almost come to blows in Durban during the 2011 Telkom Knockout final.

An incensed McCarthy said Tinkler was lucky that he didn’t punch him that day, boasting that as a player he achieved more than what Eric and Roger de Sa accumulated combined.

“That happened years ago,” Tinkler said. “But this final is not about me or Benni. This is about SuperSport and Cape Town City. I am not going to answer questions on that.”

The club has lifted the cup only once, in 2004, when the tournament was played as the SAA Supa 8.

Led by Pitso Mosimane, Matsatsantsa a Pitori beat Kaizer Chiefs 1-0 that year when defender Phillip Evans scored the only goal of the match.

The Star

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