Tembo believes his team can achieve the top four finish his SuperSport bosses crave

Dean Furman, Kaitano Tembo, Clayton Daniels and Thamsanqa Gabuza celebrate during the MTN8 2019 Final football match between Highlands Park and SuperSport United at Orlando Stadium on 05 October 2019 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

SuperSport United coach Kaitano Tembo believes his team can achieve the top four finish their management craves in the 2019-20 season, and be challenging for the Absa Premiership title in “two or three seasons”.

Tembo’s boss, SuperSport CEO Stan Matthews, has noted that the club who won the league title three successive years from 2008 to 2010 have struggled for top four finishes, their last coming seven seasons ago with third place in 2012-13.

Matthews has said that while SuperSport continue to reach cup finals and win trophies almost every season, he wants to see the Pretoria team reaching the top four, and also challenging for the Premiership title again.

Tembo has SuperSport on course for one of those goals in his second full season as head coach, with Matsatsantsa placed in third when the Premier Soccer League suspended matches due to the coronavirus on March 16.

“I always look back to where I started as the interim coach [in March 2018, replacing Eric Tinkler],” Tembo told an online press conference of the SA Football Journalists Association (Safja).

“I think when I took over the team was in 14th, two points above relegation, and with only about seven games to go – and we finished seventh.

“And the following season, when I was appointed full-time, we lost in the MTN8 final on penalties to Cape Town City and finished sixth in the league.

“And this is my second season, where we also got into the MTN8 final, and we won it [against Highlands Park], and we’re currently in third in the league.

“So when I look back I see progress. And if you look at the team which I took over, to the team I have now, there’s a huge difference.

“A lot of players have left and we’ve brought in a lot of young players.

“For me that’s what I look at if I want to judge myself.

“This season, I want to try and finish higher than we did last season.

“The team that got to the [2017] Confederation Cup final was very experienced, and most of those players are no longer with us.

“We are in a rebuilding phase, and it’s also made worse by the pandemic, and there are no budgets.

“So how I look at it is to bring in young players.

“This team can still improve. And in the next two or three years we should be fighting for the league.

“These past two seasons we have not been very far off, and we haven’t really brought in a lot of players.

“So we’re cutting the budget, and at the same time staying competitive.“And I can see that in the next two, three seasons, we will be able to challenge.”

Dynamic centreback Tembo played for SuperSport from 1999 to 2006, and had been a long-time assistant-coach, filling interim roles occasionally, before his full-time appointment at the start of the 2018-19 season.