Student Kaitano Tembo relishing the prospect of facing schoolmaster Pitso Mosimane

17 April 2019 - 12:04
By Mahlatse Mphahlele
Kaitano Tembo, coach of Supersport United during the Absa Premiership 2018/19 match between Orlando Pirates and SuperSport United at Orlando Stadium, Johannesburg on 15 September 2018.
Image: ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix Kaitano Tembo, coach of Supersport United during the Absa Premiership 2018/19 match between Orlando Pirates and SuperSport United at Orlando Stadium, Johannesburg on 15 September 2018.

The student is once again relishing the prospect of going up against the schoolmaster as SuperSport United coach Kaitano Tembo prepares to face old mentor Pitso Mosimane at Loftus on Wednesday night.

It was the Mamelodi Sundowns coach who planted the coaching seed in Tembo's mind during their time together at United in the early 2000s.

Tembo‚ who captained the side‚ was Mosimane's trusted lieutenant and he played a pivotal role when United won the SAA Super8 and Absa Cup. The duo also managed two second place finishes in the league and reached the Group Stages of the Caf Champions League during their time together.

It was during those days that Mosimane started to entrust his captain with some off-the-field duties and Tembo took keen interest in coaching.

The two have a lot of history but all of that will be momentarily forgotten when Sundowns host United in hugely anticipated Tshwane Derby on Wednesday night.

“He (Mosimane) used to ask me to record and analyse some of the games for him‚” said Tembo as he prepared to face the man he simply calls “my mentor and senior”.

“From that‚ I developed the love for coaching and the other important thing was that I was able to understand how he wanted the team to play.

"Those responsibilities that he gave me encouraged me to get into coaching.

"As captain‚ he helped me with leadership because I was part of the senior group where we had to deal with some of the younger players in the team.”

Tembo‚ who was part of the reliable United rearguard that included his central partner Themba Mnguni‚ Phil Evans at right back and Mandla Zwane left back‚ is expecting the match to be tense.

“This is a derby and I am sure that there are going to be moments in the game where tackles are going to fly and emotions boil over in the heat of the moment‚" he said.

"I know that he is an emotional person but I will show respect to him on the touchline as long there is nothing personal.

"From my side‚ I won’t go overboard with my actions and reactions to certain situations in the match because there are boundaries.

“I have known coach Pitso since he arrived at SuperSport United almost 20 years ago.

"He is passionate about football and I am not surprised by his success.

"I have learned a lot of things from him and I have nothing but respect for him.”

United have not beaten Sundowns in the league in their last ten matches.

Tembo's charges have lost nine and drawn one match‚ a situation he would like to remedy.

“I want to stop their dominance over us but I know it is not going to be easy because they have ambitions of their own‚" he said.

"We desperately need the points to move a few places on the log standings.

"In their case‚ they are chasing Orlando Pirates at the top and they will be motivated by the fact that they are through to the semifinal stage of the Champions League.”