TTM a closed book to United going into cup quarterfinal

Tembo upbeat about another top8 success

Kaitano Tembo of Supersport United pins hope on his players to defend the trophy.
Kaitano Tembo of Supersport United pins hope on his players to defend the trophy.
Image: GALLO IMAGES

SuperSport United coach Kaitano Tembo is optimistic that his team will retain their MTN8 title. Despite facing a team that they know little about, the 50-year-old Zimbabwean tactician is going into their quarterfinal encounter full of confidence.

The Tshwane giants visit new kids on the block Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM) at the Thohoyandou Stadium in Venda on Saturday (3pm). While Matsatsantsa a Pitori are going into the game as favourites and in good shape, Tshakuma are a complete mess.

The outfit don't have a coach, and they are struggling to put together a decent team for the cup match. The defending champions beefed up their squad with six players: George Chigova from Polokwane City, Iqraam Rainers (Stellenbosch), Mpho Mathebula (Bidvest Wits), SA Under-20-star Keenan Phillips, Luckyboy Mokoena (Highlands Park) and Lucky Mohomi (Mamelodi Sundowns). Tembo said his new signings are still trying to settle into the team.

“Tshakuma is a dangerous team. We’ve had three weeks to prepare for this game and don’t lack much in terms of fitness. We are in good shape and have not lost too many players from last season,” said Tembo.

Tembo was rewarded with a two-year contract at the end of last season. He is still bothered that he has no idea what kind of a team his side will face in Limpopo. He is doing his best to focus on his team and their strengths heading into the cup tie. But he admitted that he is losing sleep because of his lack of knowledge about the opposition.

“It won’t be easy. It is going to be the most difficult game that we have played in a while. I can’t hide the fact that I’m worried about them and wish that I knew more about the team that we are facing,” he said.

The three-time league champions lost Dean Furman, Aubrey Modiba, Thabo Mnyamane and Thabo Qalinge from last season's squad. Sipho Mbule is not available for selection due to injury, while Kudakwashe Mahachi tested positive for Covid-19 and is in self-isolation.

“We still have the core of the team and did not have to start from scratch in terms of our preparation, and that is our biggest advantage,” said Tembo.

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