Chairman Sibiya cherishes ‘SuperSport’s biggest moment’
SuperSport United chairman Khulu Sibiya has described what his coach Eric Tinkler and players achieved in Tunisia this weekend as an overwhelming experience and a remarkable milestone in the history of the club.
Matsatsantsa a Pitori made history by qualifying for their first continental final after beating Club Africain 4-2 on aggregate in the semifinal of the Caf Confederation Cup.
Tinkler’s team recovered from a 1-1 home leg draw for a stirring 3-1 away win in Rades on Sunday night.
SuperSport will play Democraitc Republic of Congo’s continental giants TP Mazembe in the final.
Mazembe host the first leg in Lubumbashi on November 17 while Tinkler’s team are still to confirm with Caf the day of the second leg in Pretoria. They want it to be on November 25.
“I’ve always had a smile on my face ever since this club started. I’ve been smiling and it’s even worse now‚” said Sibiya‚ in his speech welcoming the team at the OR Tambo Airport on Tuesday morning.
“This to me is the biggest moment – and not only for the club but for the country as well. It’s just overwhelming.
“It is the greatest of milestones‚ what we have achieved. It is something that we will cherish for a very long‚ long time.”
Sibiya singled out the club CEO Stanley Matthews for insisting in bringing Tinkler and captain Dean Furman to SuperSport.
“I want to congratulate Eric. Eric you’ve done an amazing job. You came to this club and made things happen. It is very unusual for any new coach to come into a club and just make things happen. You’re an amazing‚ amazing man‚” Sibiya said.
“Thanks to you Stan for dropping the name of Eric [when SuperSport were looking for a replacement for now-Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter’s). I’m revealing the secret now. It’s not me but it’s Stan who brought you [Tinkler] here.”
Sibiya went on to thank the players‚ starting with captain Furman and went on to club veterans Reneilwe Letsholonyane and Morgan Gould‚ who all addressed the media.
“Dean‚ once again I thank Stan for bringing you here. He took the trouble of going overseas to bring you here‚” Sibiya said.
“I remember people were saying Dean … what? But today you’ve shown that you’re not the history that people said you are when we recruited you. You’re the future.”
On Lestholonyane‚ Sibiya recounted a conversation he had with his wife while watching the match on television on Saturday night.
“You [Letsholonyane] just mature like a good wine my boy. You’re just amazing‚” Sibiya exclaimed.
“I wish my wife was here. She will tell you about the tears of joy I had when watching the game on TV and watching the way you were distributing those balls. It’s just amazing.”
Sibiya said he told Gould when he left SuperSport a few years ago to join Kaizer Chiefs that the defender would not find a better club than Matsatsantsa.
“You’re my prodigal son. You left this club when we still cherished you‚ and left when you were lifting a trophy. I said to you‚ ‘Morgan you will miss this day – you will never lift a trophy in your life again.
“Morgan knew what I was saying and he came back. Look at the number of trophies he’s lifted since he came back.”
Sibiya insisted that the club’s policy of sharing half of the spoils with the players after winning a trophy would be applied again if they beat Mazembe in the final‚ where the winning club will pocket $1‚25 million (R17 million).