Lungu to help steer United to a su­per sea­son

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - MIHLALI BALEKA

SU­PERS­PORT United coach Kei­tano Tembo has backed new winger Gham­pani Lungu to de­liver for the Tsh­wanebased team this sea­son af­ter his move from Zam­bian out­fit Power Dy­namos – where he scored 16 goals and reg­is­tered 22 as­sists last cam­paign.

Lungu made his de­but for Su­perS­port against AmaZulu in the Absa Premier­ship last week­end and played in their 4-3 penalty shootout win over Or­lando Pi­rates in their MTN 8 ti­tle de­fence opener; with the 19-year-old at­tack­ing mid­fielder play­ing as a wing­back. Tembo ex­plained that this tac­ti­cal de­ci­sion was based on the short­age of de­fen­sive play­ers due to the team’s in­jury crisis.

“There’s still a lot to come from him,” Tembo said. “Right­fully, he’s an at­tacker but we lost Grant (Kekana), so we didn’t have an­other op­tion. But I could see that he’s one boy with hunger and de­sire to suc­ceed wher­ever he plays.

Against Pi­rates, he made mis­takes here and there be­cause it was not his nat­u­ral po­si­tion. But I am re­ally happy for him. I think when he plays in his nat­u­ral po­si­tion, he’ll score many goals be­cause he’s a nat­u­ral goal scorer.”

Mat­santsantsa a Pi­tori are yet to find an ideal re­place­ment for Jeremy Brockie fol­low­ing his trans­fer to Mamelodi Sun­downs in Jan­uary. Evans Rusike hasn’t done much since com­ing into the team from Mar­itzburg United. But thanks to the Tendai Ndoro reg­is­tra­tion saga, Su­perS­port found them­selves back in the running for their se­cond MTN8 ti­tle in as many years. Given that Lungu and Rusike have been with the team dur­ing the pre-sea­son for the first time, Su­perS­port might have the abil­ity to re­vive some of last sea­son’s suc­cess.

“I drew up a plan for our pre- sea­son,” Tembo said.

“I think what we’ve been do­ing now is what started to­wards the end of last sea­son. We’ve been work­ing very well, and I don’t think there’s any­thing that has re­ally changed.

“We’ve also tried to trim our squad be­cause we are not play­ing in Africa any­more. So it’s been chal­leng­ing be­cause we had to rest some of the play­ers as we played three games in the past seven days.”

Su­perS­port came un­der a lot of crit­i­cism for their dis­ap­point­ing run in the Absa Premier­ship last term, with coach Eric Tin­kler re­sign­ing amid re­ports that he had lost the faith of the dress­ing room. The club brought in Lungu, vet­eran goal­keeper Wash­ing­ton Arubi, James Keene, Luke Fleurs as well as Phum­lani Nt­shangase to beef up their squad.

De­spite their hav­ing lost the ex­pe­ri­enced goal­keeper Reyaad Pi­eterse to Sun­downs, Tembo is happy with the team’s im­prove­ment so far.

“The most im­por­tant thing for us is to take things gameby-game. We are not re­ally look­ing ahead of our­selves,” he ex­plained. “What pleases us is to see an im­prove­ment each and ev­ery game. And I’ve seen that im­prove­ment al­ready, since our first game of the sea­son. We have to also tried to man­age what we have well as we had some key play­ers start on the bench against Pi­rates be­cause they played mid-week.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.