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Tembo looks to Lebese in derby


SuperSport United coach says midfielder could be the key against his parent club Sundowns

Homecoming: George Lebese of Supersport United looks to be on the verge of finding the form that made a name for him at Kaizer Chiefs, and this could be bad news for Sundowns. Picture: Samuel Shivambu BackpagePix

Despite failing to get the better of Mamelodi Sundowns in almost five years, SuperSport United coach Kaitano Tembo is adamant that they’ll have enough zest to match the quality of their arch-rivals when the teams square off at Loftus Versfeld tomorrow.

In the past, the Tshwane Derby hasn’t been short of goals, with Sundowns holding the bragging rights for the past five seasons, including being 5-0 victors in 2017.

However, during that period Tembo was merely deputising whoever was in charge of the hot seat. But now, holding his own as coach, the Zimbabwean has brought a breath of fresh air to the team. They may have lost the first leg 2-1 but United made the defending PSL champions sweat for their victory.

That is why Tembo can dare to dream that this encounter will likely bring thrilling action from either side.

“We are going to take it like any other game and prepare properly,” Tembo stated after their 0-0 draw with Polokwane City over the weekend. “The performance against Polokwane City will give us confidence going into (the) game. It’s a match we want to win, and I know that they also want to, so it will be very interesting and entertaining.”

This, however, won’t be an ordinary derby as there is a lot at stake. SuperSport make the short trip to Arcadia sitting sixth on the log standings with 40 points, merely four adrift from Sundowns who are placed second.

And besides both teams’ urge to stay in the hunt for the league title, this match will also commemorate the first homecoming of George Lebese. The 30-year-old midfielder is on a six-month loan at SuperSport from Sundowns, while his departure in January left distasteful remarks about the latter after claims that he was engulfed by depression.

However, following the “toxic” rants with the Brazilians, Lebese looks to be on the verge of finding the form that made a name for him at Kaizer Chiefs.

“If he gets to play, then he should just play his normal game. The pressure can possibly come from him because for us, he should put in a performance like he did against Polokwane City. I hope he can take the same form to tomorrow’s game,” Tembo said.

Having dropped two crucial points in their most recent encounter against City, Tembo’s troops will be heading to this encounter hoping to make amends.

Moreover, they’ll be boosted by the return of striker Mxolisi Macuphu who missed that clash due to suspension.

Macuphu has been in fine form for SuperSport since joining on a six-month loan from Bidvest Wits in January. In only six starts for the team, he’s already banged five goals – taking his tally to seven goals so far this season.