HARARE – Kaitano Tembo’s reign as SuperSport head coach got off to a false start following a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Cape Town City in their opening game of the Absa Premiership on Saturday.
The ex-Warriors vice-captain, 47, was appointed as Matsatsantsa coach just 24 hours before their clash against the Citizens on a two-year contract with the aim of improving a team that almost faced relegation following a difficult campaign last year.
Tembo’s confirmation as the head coach for SuperSport ended a seven-month stint as caretaker coach following the departure of Erick Tinkler, who was forced to leave because of poor results.
But a cracking half volley from Roland Putsche and a second goal from Craig Martin ensured a losing start for Tembo on the opening day of 2018/19 Absa Premiership season.
Tembo, who has spent almost 20 years at SuperSport, first as a player before rising through the ranks as a coach, saw his charges denied in the opening stages when Zimbabwean forward Evans Rusike turned inside the box only to be denied by the goalkeeper.
“It was the first game and we wanted to have a good start, we wanted to give a good performance,” Tembo told the South African media.
“We created some good chances, but didn’t take them. In football, if you don’t take your chances, you can’t win. But, against City, we were also up against a good team, and they took their chances.
“I thought we weren’t effective in certain areas. We managed to get behind the City defence at times, but were let down by our decision-making. Overall, though, I’m happy, despite the defeat, and there are lots of positives to take from the game. We were unlucky at times, we were also unlucky with a penalty shout, and we got into areas where we could influence the game.”
Tembo continued: “In this job, there is always pressure. It doesn’t matter what game you play or where you are in the league, there is pressure. In this game of football, there’s always pressure. But I can take it…
“We are still looking to add players in certain positions in the team. We especially need more cover in defence. Overall, though, the aim this season is to be better and especially to be more comfortable with regard to our league position. We don’t want to be in a situation where we have to be fighting relegation.”
In their next match, SuperSport face AmaZulu on Wednesday and then Orlando Pirates in the first round of the MTN8 on Saturday and Tembo is expecting a quick response from his charges.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwean forward Khama Billiat was pleased with his performance after being handed his full debut against his former team Sundowns on Saturday in a match he was named man-of-the match after the game ended 1-1 at full time.
“Firstly I want to thank God for this opportunity and the supporters who have come in numbers. I know it has been tough for the past three seasons but it’s water under the bridge and we’re ready to start the league,” the Zimbabwean told SuperSport TV.
“It was a tough match, (Sundowns) is a good side I think we have done a lot of things we wanted to do and there’s still room for improvement. I want to thank the teammates, the club and the coach for those opportunities.”
The former Mamelodi Sundowns star indicated that Chiefs are still finding their feet under new coach Giovanni Solinas.
“We created not as many (chances) as we wanted to but there are moments where we could’ve taken our chances but it’s a learning curve. We learn every day. We take it positively. We are not too hard on ourselves we take it one game as it comes,” he concluded.