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Kaitano Tembo: From playing the Taliban to surviving at SuperSport

Both Gavin Hunt and Pitso Mosimane used the SuperSport job as a springboard to proper prominence and recognition, can Tembo do the same?

19 August 2018 - 00:00 By BARENG-BATHO KORTJAAS

Back in the day, long before grey hair waged guerrilla warfare with my beard, we had an encounter with one Kaitano Tembo.
We being members of the Taliban, not the terrorist group but a soccer team of pot-bellied, beer-guzzling and whisky- downing football scribes.
The team was named the Taliban because we were hellbent on terrorising the opposition. Yours truly named the team the Talibans.
Why? Because when I looked around me in the dressing room the two white men in there, Petros Augusti (the brother of former Bloem Celtic boss Jimmy) and Gavin Barker (the son of ex-Bafana Bafana coach Clive), stuck out like sore thumbs in an ocean of melanin.
If the team is the Taliban, charged the boys, then you are our coach and your name is Osama bin Kortjaas.
It was more an instruction than a suggestion and no room was left for any protestation.Besides, my good doctor Sangxa had just informed me in his Salisbury Pub consultation room in Manchester, that the recurring hamstring injury on my neck left him with no choice but to force me into early retirement. We drank ale to that. Cheers!
The two white boys were nicknamed anthrax, the white powder that was going to send a shower of shivers down the spines of whoever dared to muster the pluck to take on us.
The Talibans were itching for action.
And so it was that we organised a match against SuperSport United coaching staff.
Their team was teeming with talent and boasted a formidable spine: Andre Arendse in goal, Kaitano Tembo in defence, Kwanele Kopo in midfield and Pitso Mosimane upfront.
Our team included Mmatshelane "Tsetse Fly" Mmamabolo, Timothy "Rubberman" Molobi, Raymond "Zagallo" Nxumalo, Kgomotso "TinySticks" Mokoena, Nkareng "Stop Nonsense" Matshe and Sazi "Mbesuma" Hadebe.
Uncle Mninawa "Gqirha" Ntloko was our "special projects" man who organised the jumping of fires on camp.
I don't remember what the score was largely due to the convivial merrymaking conditions that prevailed.
That was thanks to a certain Felicia Ntisa, a special big sister who ensured that beverages flowed like the river Nile.
As the game went on, the smell of braai meat filled the air while cold beers and hot stuff (ugologo) replaced the energy drinks. A reckless soul forgot to buy enough ice and most of the beer was warm, almost hot.
When this was brought to the attention of a very thirsty Tembo, he cracked the whole room with a barb that would have left Charles Glass proud when he charged: "My friend, a beer is a beer. Whether hot or cold. I don't drink temperature, I drink a beer my friend. Bring it here."
Today Kaitano Tembo, after many years of sterling service to the club, is the head coach of SuperSport United.He has been given an opportunity to prove his mettle in a club that has shown great loyalty to coaches in the past.
Both Gavin Hunt and Pitso Mosimane used the platform provided to them by United as a springboard to proper prominence and recognition.
But things have changed nowadays as the club doesn't have the patience which saw them being coached by the above-mentioned men for a combined 11 years.
The likes of Gordon Igesund, Cavin Johnson and Eric Tinkler got short shrift from the club as they didn't last longer than data during their short stints.
One wishes for Tembo, who joined the club as player 20 years ago, to succeed because a lot of journeymen with questionable track records flood our country to add no value.
The latest joker was Rob Hutting, who lasted all of six months as technical adviser at Kaizer Chiefs. May one-club man Tembo, the Zimbabwean gentleman of the game, rise to the occasion. Hot beer or not.

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