by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG – SUPERSPORT United coach, Kaitano Tembo, has challenged his younger players – Sipho Mbule, Teboho Mokoena and Jamie Webber – to step up to the plate and fill the void to be left by the departure of captain, Dean Furman.
Third-placed SuperSport United recently confirmed the skipper (31) would not be staying beyond the lapse of his contract at the end of the season but is returning to England and reconnect with his family.
He has been one of the most consistent performers for the Tshwane premiership club and country since joining the Pretoria side from Doncaster Rovers in 2015.
Tembo expressed his desire to see one of Mbule (22), Mokoena (23) and Webber (22) take up the role to be left vacant by Furman.
He thus encouraged the youth internationals to put in extra effort and rise up to the challenge.
“Look, the departure of Dean is a big loss to the club and everyone else but there is nothing we can do because it is a family decision. I wish him well,” Tembo said in an interview.
He added, “However, his departure is equally an opportunity for younger players, Sipho, Teboho and Jamie to step their game so that they can fill in his big boots.”
Coinciding with Furman leaving, SuperSport United has had to fend off interest in the services of the three players that are having standout seasons.
Mbule’s performances were rewarded with the Absa premiership Player of the Month for November.
Tembo and his technical team have done their best to keep the players grounded lest complacency creeps in.
“Look, these players can achieve a lot at SuperSport but I would also want them to achieve more in top European leagues,” the head coach stated.
He cited the three players and first choice goalkeeper, Ronwen Williams, whom he described as the best goalkeeper in the Absa Premier League, as an example to up-and-coming players to see the former league champions as a club groomed youngsters for greater heights.
“This gives hope to the rest of the youngsters to try and do their best knowing they will be rewarded just like the trio, who are now commanding first team jerseys.”
Tembo, who is in his second season at the helm of Matsantsantsa since revealed he wished his team to finish “higher than third position” when the Premiership eventually resumes.
MTN 8 winners, SuperSport United occupy that berth behind log leaders Kaizer Chiefs and defending champions, Mamelodi Sundowns.
Tembo’s side finished sixth last season.
“Remember, the previous (2017/18) season, I was caretaker coach when the club was second from the bottom. With support from both the management and players, I took the team to the top eight,” he said.
The coronavirus-enforced break has not only marred the club’s momentum but thwarted his planned working trip to England.
“I was supposed to travel to England before the coronavirus outbreak disrupted everything. The intention was to learn from Crystal Palace, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham to improve my coaching skills,” Tembo disclosed.
He said the trip would be beneficial as the sides shared his vision of youth development.
– CAJ News