By The Citizen and Mazola Molefe
SuperSport United played to a 0-0 draw with Petro Atletico in a Caf Confederation Cup first round, first leg tie, at the Estadio 11 de Novembro, Luanda, Angola, on Tuesday, a credible result that will no doubt boost the chances of caretaker coach Kaitano Tembo to be appointed head coach.
It was SuperSport’s first game since Eric Tinkler quit his post as head coach last week.
Supersport United CEO Stan Matthews has revealed that the club had already been flooded with CVs of coaches desperate to replace Tinkler, but the club was looking at the former Zimbabwe international defender Tembo to step up in the remaining six PSL matches to have a chance of filling the vacant post.
Tinkler resigned last Friday following pressure from Matthews and the board to improve the woeful results that had dragged Matsatsantsa into the relegation zone after two wins in 14 matches.
Tembo was an assistant to Tinkler, and Stuart Baxter before. “We have had dozens and dozens of CVs, but we can’t think about that now. We have given the job (in the interim) to Kaitano and I think that for him as a person we need to keep that process and door open,” Matthews said.
“If he delivers he would surely be a favourite candidate come June and the off season when we have to look for a permanent appointment for next season. He has stepped in a few times as caretaker coach and I think now is a moment of truth in his career. This is an opportunity to see if he is interested in the job first. This will be the longest spell he has had in charge as an interim coach.”
Tembo, 47, had a successful football career with Zimbabwe’s Glamour Boys, Dynamos, winning four league titles with the club. He left the club in 1999 after which he joined Supersport. He won several accolades with the club before retiring from the game and joining the coaching staff.
With the Zimbabwe Warriors Tembo was part of the history-making team coached by Sunday Chidzambwa which qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations in 2004. The former Dembare player was well known for his solid defensive skills. So experienced in defense was Tembo that during the twilight stages of tenure as a player at Supersport, he was handed the captaincy of the club.
Kaitano’s name will be there near the top
He was roped in to hold the fort temporarily in August 2014 after Cavin Johnson was sacked for poor results and later replaced by Gordon Igesund, who was fresh off a disappointing spell as national team coach.
“I thought Kaitano started well on Saturday (goalless draw against Maritzburg United).We were very pleased with what we saw. We will look at the CVs, narrow them down, and Kaitano’s name will be there near the top.”
SuperSport are currently 13th, three points ahead of Ajax Cape Town, who are in a relegation play-off spot.
The official line is that Tinkler resigned after several discussions with his bosses about the poor results, but Matthews suggested he would have been fired if he didn’t offer to walk away.
The Pretoria club will be satisfied with the draw in Angola and will be keen to finish things off when they are at home for the second leg.
SuperSport got into stride early on when a threatening cross from Siyabonga Nhlapo was dealt with by the Petro defence. Four minutes later, the South Africans had a great opportunity, but Aubrey Modiba fired his effort wide.
Tembo’s acumen was in the spotlight as SuperSport changed tactics in a bid to make sure their defence wasn’t breached by making two substitutions, bringing on defender Onismor Bhasera in place of attacker Darren Smith, and Luke le Roux coming in for Mbule.
Ten minutes before full-time, after a sweet counter-attack, Modiba created an opening after losing his man with some great skill out wide, but he shot flashed wide of goal.
However, the South Africans had a lucky escape four minutes before the close when Petro hit the post.
In the end, though, neither team managed to score and goalless was how it finished.
Kaitano Tembo with Eric Tinkler.
Kaitano Tembo taking his charges through their paces.
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