JOHANNESBURG – SuperSport United may be on cloud nine after their giant-slaying performances in the last seven days, but coach Kaitano Tembo has urged his troops to keep their feet firmly on the ground.
Last Wednesday, Tembo inspired his troops to a 3-0 PSL victory over Orlando Pirates at Mbombela Stadium, bagging a second successive win against the Bucs in Nelspruit. Add to the fact that, that victory came two days just before Orlando Pirates’ coach Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic tendered his resignation to join Egyptian giants Zamalek. Sredojevic then become the third Bucs coach to resign after having suffered a heavy to defeat to SuperSport, joining predecessors Kjell Jonevret and Muhsin Ertugral whose teams were thumped 4-1 and 6-1 respectively.
However, the Zimbabwean-born tactician was not done with his hat-tricks on-and-off the pitch, hammering Wits by 3-0 on Sunday in the MTN8 quarter-finals to send his SuperSport team into their third successive semi-final. SuperSport will face rivals Mamelodi Sundowns for a spot in the final.
Tembo was, however, reluctant to get carried away by the week that was, stating they are a still a team in progress.
“I think we’ve had a very good pre-season. But at the same time, it’s about continuity, we have few players that have joined us and we are trying to improve from last season,” Tembo said.
“We’ve never really brought in a lot of players. But it’s still early days because it’s only our third match of the season, so we need to stay humble a little bit and continue to work hard.”
While Tembo admits it will be detrimental to get carried away, he’ll sleep better knowing that his striking contingent have been firing from all cylinders at the start of the season. Following a 2-0 loss to Sundowns in their league opener, SuperSport bounced back with a comfortable win over Pirates, thanks to a brace from Bradley Grobler and a goal from Ghampani Lungu.
However, for Sunday’s MTN8 clash, the latter handed over the baton to new man Thamsanqa Gabuza, who scored a second-half brace after Grobler had opened scoring in Braamfontein. Gabuza, who is forming a deadly partnership with Grobler and Evans Rusike, is on a hunt for a second bite of the cherry after a roller-coaster six-year stint with the Buccaneers. And his coach Tembo, believes that with hard work and dedication, the sky is the limit for him.
“I know that Gabuza used to miss chances. But he’s one player that I used to worry about whenever we played Pirates because of his work ethic,” he said. “He works very hard and he’s not scared to get in effective areas, irrespective of whether he misses or not. He keeps on fighting and working. And when I looked back, I remembered the Gabuza which I knew from Golden Arrows, where I think he scored 10 goals.
That was the Gabuza I had in my mind when we decided to sign him. And I know goals will come when he works hard like he does.”
To make it known that their bright start was not a false alarm, Matsantsantsa will be hoping to make it three wins in a row when they face Kaizer Chiefs in the league on Saturday.