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Short turnaround time gives Tembo sleepless night: 'The overload is a little bit too much'

Mahlatse Mphahlele Sports reporter
SuperSport United coach Kaitano Tembo.
SuperSport United coach Kaitano Tembo.
Image: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

The short turnaround time between games is starting to take its toll on the small SuperSport United squad and coach Kaitano Tembo is a worried man.

With the games coming thick and fast‚ the injury count has also continued to climb as United struggle to come to terms with a congested fixture list.

“The overload is a little bit too much because there is not enough time to recover‚ and that’s where the biggest problem is‚” said Tembo.

“We are not really training.

"What you need to do is to make sure that you give players time to recover. You can’t really train to try and correct the mistakes because games are coming thick and fast.

"We played a cup game on Thursday in Venda against TTM‚ we played again on Tuesday on Bloemfontein and we are playing again on Saturday against Cape Town City.

“Those are the challenges that you face when you are playing too many games within a short space of time. I think we have been doing this since the 6th of January and it is taking its toll on the players. The quality of the matches is no longer the same‚ especially with us because we don’t have a big squad.

"We have a small squad and we have some young players we earmarked to play MDC football this season‚ but there is no MDC. This makes it difficult to throw them in the deep end.”

United lost 2-1 to Bloemfontein Celtic on Tuesday in the Free State where they missed out on a chance to narrow the gap on log-leaders Mamelodi Sundowns to two points.

The match against Celtic was their second in five days after the long trip to Venda where they lost to Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila in the Nedbank Cup last 32 late last week.

Tembo said the injuries have exacerbated the situation as Teboho Mokoena‚ Evans Rusike‚ Iqraam Rayners and Guily Manziba are all in the doctor's room.

“We have injuries to Tebogo Mokoena‚ Evans Rusike‚ Iqraam Rayners and Guily Manziba and these are big players for us. But I think we have done fairly well up to so far without them and we are expecting them in the coming weeks‚" he said.

“Mokoena‚ he has missed the last four games because he got injured in our match against Sundowns. He is in his fourth week but we expect him to be back within the next two weeks.

"His absence has done a little bit of damage for us but at the same time we had an opportunity to give a player like Lucky Mohomi more game time. You can see his quality because he is playing more matches and regaining fitness.”

After their match against Cape Town City this weekend‚ United will only return to action next weekend.

“We are happy that from next week we will be able to go back to playing on weekends and it will be much better.

"Next week that’s where we are going to have a little bit of a relief and recovery time‚ but for now it has been taxing on the players.

"If a player gets sick‚ we have to replace him and it happened against Celtic where we lost Grant Kekana because he had flu symptoms in the morning. These days you can’t take a risk‚ we had to withdraw him from the squad.”