Kaitano Tembo eyes SA premiership top four finish

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By Sports Reporter

ZIMBABWEAN coach Kaitano Tembo has set his sights on securing a top four finish for his South African club SuperSport United in the 2019-20 South African Premiership season before mounting a serious challenge for the championship title in “two or three seasons”.

Tembo has SuperSport on course for one of those goals in his second full season as head coach, with club placed in third when the Premier Soccer League suspended matches due to the coronavirus on March 16.

After leading the side to the MTN8 Cup title earlier this season, the former Dynamos and Warriors defender said he was confident that the team would continue improving under his watch and hopefully challenge for top honours soon.

“I always look back to where I started as the interim coach [in March 2018, replacing Eric Tinkler],” Tembo told an online press conference of the SA Football Journalists Association (Safja).

“I think when I took over the team was in 14th, two points above relegation, and with only about seven games to go – and we finished seventh.

“And the following season, when I was appointed full-time, we lost in the MTN8 final on penalties to Cape Town City and finished sixth in the league.

“And this is my second season, where we also got into the MTN8 final, and we won it [against Highlands Park], and we’re currently in third in the league.

“So when I look back I see progress. And if you look at the team which I took over, to the team I have now, there’s a huge difference.

“A lot of players have left and we’ve brought in a lot of young players. For me that’s what I look at if I want to judge myself. This season, I want to try and finish higher than we did last season.

“The team that got to the [2017] Confederation Cup final was very experienced, and most of those players are no longer with us.

“We are in a rebuilding phase, and it’s also made worse by the pandemic, and there are no budgets.

“So how I look at it is to bring in young players.

“This team can still improve. And in the next two or three years we should be fighting for the league.

“These past two seasons we have not been very far off, and we haven’t really brought in a lot of players.

“So we’re cutting the budget, and at the same time staying competitive.“And I can see that in the next two, three seasons, we will be able to challenge.”

Tembo played for SuperSport from 1999 to 2006, and had been a long-time assistant-coach, filling interim roles occasionally, before his full-time appointment at the start of the 2018-19 season. After his early success in South African has been previously linked with the Warriors coaching post.