Until the end of last season, SuperSport Unired’s poor run of away form had somewhat gone under the radar.
Perhaps it is because their corresponding home form was exceptional – SuperSport went on a 16-game unbeaten home run from January 2020 to April 2021 in the league, a club record. Or perhaps it could be the absence of fans in stadiums that makes it difficult to distinguish home games (your fans as a majority cheering you on & jeering the opposition when needed) and away games (where the opposite applies).
Whatever the reason, it is worth reiterating the current state of affairs:
13 – SuperSport are winless in their last 13 matches away from home (D8 L5, all competitions), last winning on the road in January 2021. It’s their longest run without an away win in their PSL history.
If any of the Big Three went on such a run of form, the knives would be out immediately. That SuperSport have kept patient with their manager Kaitano Tembo for a long time could be an ode to their patience – something very rare with the modern fan and trigger-happy club management.
101 – Tembo has been in charge of 101 league games at SuperSport (incl. 12 as a caretaker) – only the third manager to 100 league games at the club (also Pitso Mosimane & Gavin Hunt).
More worryingly, the patience could be a sign that they don’t see themselves in the same category as Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, the latter two who have had major managerial changes since Tembo joined SuperSport.
Steve Komphela, Giovanni Solinas, Ernst Middendorp and Gavin Hunt have all been shown the exit door at Chiefs since Tembo started his coaching stint in March 2018.
Make no mistake, Tembo has been a solid manager (he has the MTN8 trophy to prove that), and the promotion of local African coaches is always to be celebrated. But at what point does keeping him in the job start to harm his reputation instead of enhancing it? The rumours that start off as whispers soon grow into cries. If ever there was a perfect time for Tembo to show what he can do, it would be now:
2019 – December 2019 was the last time Swallows FC lost a home game.
Not only will victory over Swallows break the away jinx, Tembo will also show that he has what it takes to turn the situation around. And maybe forestall any concerns we may have.
Downs v TS Galaxy
Against Chiefs, Sundowns had two shots on target and scored two goals from these. Even where Downs don’t create much, they still find a way to win and it is the defence that must be given credit for this outcome. It’s hard to see a scenario where Sundowns concede a goal against The Rockets, let alone how they can lose.
1 – Sundowns have conceded just one goal in their last 11 league matches.
However, they will hope to be more attacking when they host TS Galaxy today (17:00) – a win would send Downs back to the top of the table, ahead of their mammoth clash with Orlando Pirates next weekend
By Opta Jabu