April 22, 2021

Tembo admits his SuperSport United players are not yet match fit ahead of season restart

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Matsatsantsa continue their PSL season against Bloemfontein Celtic and their tactician is not entirely pleased with their state of preparedness

SuperSport United coach Kaitano Tembo has bemoaned his side’s lack of practice matches, saying his players would only be “about 70 to 80 percent ready” by the time they resume their Premier Soccer League (PSL) campaign.

Tembo and his men get back to action by hosting Bloemfontein Celtic at Bidvest Stadium on August 16.

Since the beginning of July, SuperSport have been training on the pitch but players were working out in small units, before starting full training as a whole group “a few days ago.”

“I think we will probably be about 70 to 80 percent ready by the time we play our first match. We are going to take that match as a preparation match because we have not had time to play friendly matches because of this Covid-19‚” said Tembo as per Sowetan Live.

“Confirmation of the restart date by the chairman of the league Dr Khoza is helpful because it allows us as coaches and the players to plan properly. I am not saying things are going to be easy but it definitely makes planning a little bit better when you know when‚ what time and where you are going to play.”

While Tembo is unhappy about the lack of friendly matches, his side would restart against a Bloemfontein Celtic outfit that would have gained some match fitness following their Nedbank Cup semi-finals clash with Baroka FC on August 8.

“It is not going to be easy because we only started training as a group a few days ago as we had to observe social distancing rules when we returned to training about a month ago,” Tembo said.

“We will only know after the first match where the guys are in terms of match fitness because the reality of the situation is that players are not match fit now. We have been training for a few weeks but it was difficult to plan and load players not knowing when we are going to start.

“It was also difficult to push the guys at training in terms of fitness but we are excited that the league is going to resume and we want to thank all the people who worked hard behind the scenes to ensure that we get back to action.”

Currently placed third on the PSL standings, a top-three finish would see SuperSport return to the Caf Confederation Cup, where they reached the final in 2017 but lost to Tour Puissant Mazembe.

SuperSport’s remaining six league games include visiting Orlando Pirates, who also have a top-three finish as realistically the best they could end the season.