SuperSport United coach Tinkler bracing for tough schedule

25 October 2017 - 13:50 By Mahlatse Mphahlele
Coach Eric Tinkler during the SuperSport United media conference at OR Tambo International Airport on October 24, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Coach Eric Tinkler during the SuperSport United media conference at OR Tambo International Airport on October 24, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

Faced with a congested fixture list that includes a trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and possible national team call-ups‚ SuperSport United coach Eric Tinkler will have plenty to think about in the next four weeks.

Tinkler will be forced to rotate his squad as United have to juggle league‚ Telkom Knockout and Caf Confederation Cup assignments in the coming weeks.

Expected national team call-ups to Morgan Gould‚ Clayton Daniels‚ Dean Furman and Jeremy Brockie are expected to complicate things further for the United coach.

United returned from Tunisia on Tuesday after beating Club Africain 3-1 at the weekend to progress to the Confederations Cup final 4-2 on aggregate.

They have had very little time to savour the historic achievement as they take on Bloemfontein Celtic in the Last 16 round of the Telkom Knockout at DR Petrus Molemela Stadium on Saturday.

The players who travelled to Tunisia were given a few days off and return to training on Thursday before they hit the road to the Free State to take on Celtic.

“The players are prepared to work extra hard and they know that they will not be training much‚" Tinkler said.

"Those who were in Tunisia‚ I have sent them home to rest a little bit and they will only report back to training on Thursday.”

Should they beat Celtic in the Telkom Knockout on Saturday‚ United would then advance to the quarterfinal stage to be played on the weekend of 3‚4 and 5 November.

Tinkler and his men will then host Golden Arrows in a league match at Mbombela Stadium at the end of the month.

After the Telkom Knockout last eight stage‚ there's a chance that Bafana coach Stuart Baxter could need Gould‚ Daniels and Furman for the crucial back-to-back 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Senegal on 10 and 14 November.

The first leg against Senegal will be played in Polokwane on November 10 and the United players could make the long trip to West Africa for the away leg.

Then‚ there is a complicated matter of New Zealand striker Jeremy Brockie‚ who will be with his national team in their intercontinental World Cup first leg play-off against Peru on November 11 at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.

For the away leg‚ Brockie will be on the air over the Pacific Ocean for more than 13 hours en-route to the Peruvian capital in Lima before returning to South Africa to link up with his team-mates for the trip to Lubumbashi on November 17.

“You can see by how many of our players who have been selected to the national team and but that is the concern I have because there are two Bafana Bafana matches where our players may be selected and we also have the final.

"We also lose Jeremy Brockie to New Zealand and he arrives back the Wednesday before the game.

"That is obviously a bit of a concern for me and we hope that everybody comes back from national duty unscathed‚” said Tinkler.

Four-week programme involving the SuperSport United players

28 October‚ Telkom Knockout: Bloemfontein Celtic v SuperSport United (Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium)

31 October‚ PSL: SuperSport v Golden Arrows (Mbombela Stadium)

3‚4‚5 November: Telkom Knockout‚ quarter-final

10 November‚ World Cup Qualifier: Bafana Bafana v Senegal (Peter Mobaba Stadium)

14 November‚ World Cup Qualifier: Senegal v Bafana Bafana (Dakar)

10 November‚ World Cup qualifier‚ play-off: New Zealand v Peru (Wellington)

15 November: World Cup qualifier‚ play-off: Peru v New Zealand (Lima)

17 November‚ Caf Confederations Final: TP Mazembe v SuperSport United (Lubumbashi)

24 November‚ Caf Confederations Final: SuperSport United v TP Mazembe (Lucas Moripe Stadium)