Tembo blames many injuries for poor run

SuperSport coach now focuses on next season

Neville Khoza Journalist
Supersport United coach Kaitano Tembo.
Supersport United coach Kaitano Tembo.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi

SuperSport United coach Kaitano Tembo has blamed injuries for team's poor season.

After making a good start to the season, many thought they would challenge Mamelodi Sundowns for the league title, but things didn’t go out the way they would have hoped as a run of poor results followed.

Now at position six on the table, with two matches to go, the best United can do is to force a fourth spot finish, provided Orlando Pirates and Moroka Swallows lose their remaining matches.

Following their 1-3 defeat to Sundowns in the Tshwane derby at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Wednesday, which handed their cross-town rivals the league title, Tembo said missing key players disrupted their momentum.

“We started the season very well. If you look at the makeup of our team, we don’t have a lot of depth and we lost a few influential players in terms of injuries like Bradley Grobler and Thamsanqa Gabuza, who is only coming back now,” Tembo told the media after the match.

“I think it is his first start after three months. Gamphani Lungu was injured, Guily Manziba as well. So it was a little bit difficult and we had to play younger players.

“That’s where you see Jesse Donn playing regularly and Keenan Phillips playing a little bit more and that puts us on the back foot in terms of consistency.

“But I’m quite happy with where we are going because we’ve given opportunities to other players and some grabbed those opportunities. We are looking forward to building for the next season.”

Tembo also highlighted a lack of scoring goals being another problem as he feels they are not finding the back of the net enough with strikers Gabuza and Grobler being sidelined by injuries before.

“That has been a huge problem for us, especially in the second round. We are not scoring more than one goal. If you don’t score goals, it is always difficult to win the game,” Tembo said.

“That’s the disappointing thing about the game, the chances we created we could have done better and scored a few. When you play against a team like Sundowns, you have to take your chances because they have quality players.

“Another disappointment was a red card the way it happened [Manziba tackle on Sphelele Mkhulise]. It was a right call after watching it again. It was so early in the game and that put you in a difficult situation where when we started, we wanted to press them a little bit high up and we did well in that.”

SuperSport's remaining matches are against relegation-threatened Maritzburg United on Wednesday and Chippa United on June 5.

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