Kaitano Tembo, Owen da Gama eye history
Twenty years after joining SuperSport United as a player, Kaitano Tembo now stands on the verge of cup success as a coach in the MTN8.
Tembo is looking to cap off his 20th anniversary with the club by clinching the R8m tournament in the final against Highlands Park at Orlando Stadium tomorrow at 6pm.
The match is a shot at redemption for Tembo and his players after losing the Wafa Wafa final to Cape Town City last year.
Tembo admits that winning the cup would be a special way of celebrating his two decades at Matsatsantsa a Pitori.
"For me it's never been about me because I am a team player. Yes, on a personal level it would be nice to win this as a way of giving back to the club after 20 wonderful years," said Tembo.
It won't be easy though against the Lions of the North who are aiming to win their first cup. Reaching the final is an incredible feat for the Gauteng club - two years after gaining promotion from the lower division.
Highlands coach Owen da Gama is eager to lead the club to a trophy. "I am excited to be in the final, it's a conscious dream to reach the final, to win it it's even better," he said.
"It's another feather in my cap, but I still believe that this is for the players. They must get more credit than what we should get as coaches. It's good for me, but I am happier for the players."
It will be Da Gama's third final as a mentor, having guided the now defunct Platinum Stars (then Silver Stars) to the Coca-Cola Cup final (2-0 loss to Kaizer Chiefs in 2003) and the Telkom Knockout (won 3-1 over Ajax Cape Town) in 2006.
Da Gama tried to divert attention from his team, saying SuperSport are the favourites.
"We're the underdogs. SuperSport have been there three years consecutively," he said.
"We've not been there, our players haven't experienced that apart from one or two players such as Yeye [Reneilwe Letsholonyane] and [Tendai] Ndoro."