SuperSport coach Tembo turns to the youngsters
‘We can’t hold them by the hand forever,’ mentor says as he pins team’s hopes on emerging players turning latent talent into great performances
While most football clubs will be splashing out on reinforcements during the off-season‚ SuperSport United coach Kaitano Tembo will look internally and build the team around four players.
Tembo said they were going to show faith in emerging players Aubrey Modiba‚ Teboho Mokoena‚ Jamie Webber and Sipho Mbule to counter the loss of influential captain Dean Furman, who has returned to England.
The above players are all still under 24. Tembo said the time was right to entrust them with the huge responsibility of carrying the team into the future.
“We can’t hold them by the hand forever. Even though they are still under 24 years‚ they have PSL experience‚” said Tembo. United would not be too active in the transfer market.
“If we go out and find someone who is going to replace Dean‚ it means we are going to pay a lot of money. We have players in our system who have been working alongside Dean and playing regularly.
“We are going to build the team around those players, and the other good thing is that we can use them for the next five to six years.
“That’s the plan but we will try to reinforce here and there even though the main thing is to make sure our younger players flourish. If we keep on buying players‚ we are going to end up blocking them and that will defeat the purpose. We trust them and we believe that they have what it takes to carry this team forward.”
Tembo also spoke highly of other young players such as Luke Fleurs (20)‚ Jesse Donn (21)‚ Oswin Appollis (18)‚ Moses Waiswa (23)‚ Guily Manziba (24)‚ Zama Rambuwane (23) and Khanyisile Mayo (20), all of whom will be given opportunities next season.
“When we talk about senior players‚ we don’t talk about age but we talk about how much they have learned and how much they have been playing regularly.
“That is always important because you may have a senior player in terms of age but he has not been playing regularly. Then you may have a player who is young by age but has gained a lot of experience by playing regularly.
“So the likes of Mokoena‚ Webber‚ Mbule‚ Modiba and Fleurs are already experienced. If you look at Modiba and Mokoena‚ they already have Bafana caps. For someone like Webber‚ this is a huge opportunity for him to make sure that he gives us probably 25 to 26 games a season.
“We are not in a hurry to close the gap with Furman because we have another defensive midfielder in Jesse Donn who is only 21. We also have Moses Waiswa, who at 23 is a full Ugandan international player‚” said Tembo.
United’s CEO Stan Matthews shared his sentiments.
“In the midfield we have three Olympic candidates in Webber‚ Mbule and Tebza [Mokoena], and we can’t deny them space to shine before the Olympics.
“We have a Ugandan international in Waiswa who has been injured for a long time but he is an exciting talent. We have to give space for Mbule‚ Mokoena and Webber to play‚” said Matthews.
The younger players will look to captain Ronwen Williams‚ Bongani Khumalo‚ Grant Kekana‚ Clayton Daniels‚ Onismor Bhasera‚ Evans Rusike‚ Bradley Grobler and Thamsanqa Gabuza for experience.