Evans Rusike has adjusted to SuperSport United‚ says coach Kaitano Tembo
Evans Rusike has adjusted to SuperSport United and is starting to deliver‚ was the ominous warning sent out by coach Kaitano Tembo after his star striker notched a third goal of 2018-19 in a 1-0 Absa Premiership win against Wits.
Rusike's 56th-minute winner at Bidvest Stadium on Saturday night‚ turning with his back to goal on a looped deflection of Onismor Bhasera's cross and scissor-volleying past Darren Keet‚ was pure striker's mastery.
The Zimbabwean ace‚ who scored one goal in five months after a high-profile transfer from Maritzburg United in January as battling SuperSport flirted with fighting relegation last season‚ went to three goals in four league and cup games.
United ended Wits' three-game starting winning streak in the league and began to threaten their own head of steam with a third win in all competitions under new head coach Tembo.
"That's what we expect from him.
"He's a very important player for us‚" Tembo‚ the accomplished former United and Zimbabwe centreback‚ said of his young charge and countryman Rusike.
"He struggled a little bit when he joined us‚ because he needed time as well to try and adjust to the environment‚ to our structure and to our way of playing.
"But now you can see - he knows what we expect from him and he's starting to deliver."
SuperSport were edged by Wits in the first half of a tight‚ fast game at an icy Bidvest Stadium‚ but some clever tweaks by Tembo saw the visitors come out applying the pressure from the break.
The coach said the introduction from half time of Reneilwe Letsholonyane in midfield for Aubrey Modiba‚ the veteran coming on and getting his foot on the ball‚ was the main factor in SuperSport's strong second half.
"I think we're playing as a unit. We're playing well as a team‚" Tembo said.
"'Yeye' [Letsholonyane] did a fantastic job‚ as well as 'Tebza' [Teboho Mokoena] and Dean [Furman] is always fantastic.
"I think that's where we started playing better - when Yeye came on."
SuperSport will take the win against Wits as a timely confidence boost as they now have a week to prepare for Saturday's first leg of their MTN8 semifinal against Kaizer Chiefs at Lucas Moripe Stadium.