SuperSport United of South Africa have appointed club legend Kaitano Tembo as head coach on a two-year contract with immediate effect.
The former Zimbabwean international defender was named caretaker-coach in March when the club parted ways with Eric Tinkler following a spell of unsatisfactory results and he guided them to a seventh spot finish in the league.
Tembo was in charge of the team’s preseason preparations over the past few weeks and his first task as full-time coach of the club is a tricky away league clash against Cape Town City in the Mother City on Saturday.
“This Club has been the centre of my life for almost 20 years and I and my players will give everything we have to keep our run of success going‚” Tembo‚ who has also captained United, said.
“I am honoured by the confidence the club have shown in me by giving me this great opportunity.”
United chief executive Stan Matthews said: “Kaitano epitomises what it means to be a clubman. He joined us as a player 19 years ago and has worked his way through our youth structures and subsequently into the first team as an assistant.
“He has steered us on a caretaker basis on three separate occasions and everyone at the club is committed to reciprocating his loyalty and his desire to win silverware.”
SuperSport chairperson Khulu Sibiya said: “It’s a great challenge for Kaitano because he knows we have high standards at the club. We will all rally behind him to deliver success because, above all, it’s a team effort.”
Tembo joins a long list of Zimbabwean coaches to have worked as managers in South Africa, with top names such as Roy Baretto (Orlando Pirates), Peter Nyama (QwaQwa Stars), Shepherd Murape (Orlando Pirates), Wildfred Mugeyi (AmaZulu), Ian Gorowa (Ajax Cape Town, Moroka Swallows), Sunday Chidzambga (Black Leopards) as well as Joey Antipas, who had a season’s stint with AmaZulu, coming to mind.
Baretto and Murape are the two most successful Zimbabwean coaches in South Africa, where they each won the league title with Orlando Pirates.
Nyama won a knockout competition with QwaQwa Stars, now Free State Stars, which was a huge achievement for the club at the time.
Tembo will be looking to accomplish such success at a club that he has been loyal to for a long period of time, from playing days to the time he was drafted into the technical team.
The former Dynamos defender knows competition will be tough against teams such as Kaizer Chiefs, current champions Sundowns as well as Orlando Pirates.
Another mid-table finish will not be good enough for Tembo as the club seeks honours this time around.
His appointment could also open opportunities for more Zimbabwean players to join the South African top club where he has since off-loaded Kingston Nkatha, while he is also sending Prince Dube out on loan so that he gets more game time and develop into a finished product.
Tembo signed former Dynamos goalkeeper Washington Arubi, who has been plying his trade in the second tier league in that country.
Arubi joins Onesimo Bhasera, who is a mainstay at the club.