Gamphani Lungu’s SuperSport United eyeing CAF spot against Orlando Pirates

Gamphani Lungu (left) says senior players have ensured that they’ve made SuperSport United’s youngsters feel at home. Photo: BackpagePix

Gamphani Lungu (left) says senior players have ensured that they’ve made SuperSport United’s youngsters feel at home. Photo: BackpagePix

Published May 24, 2024


SuperSport United attacker Gamphani Lungu expects a tough visit to Orlando Pirates tomorrow (3pm kick-off), given that the two teams are chasing respective targets.

SuperSport will make the short trip from Tshwane to Orlando hoping to come away with all three points from their DStv Premiership showdown.

That win could see them finish fourth on the log – provided that TS Galaxy drop points away to Polokwane City – and possibly qualify for the CAF Confederation Cup next season.

This follows reports that the league’s fourth-placed team will play in the competition with the third-placed side because Nedbank Cup finalists Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns are guaranteed a top-three finish on the log.

Should that be the case, SuperSport will be making their return to the competition after crashing out in the group stage in the recently concluded season.

Lungu believes the experience gained last season, despite their brief stay, would stand them in good stead should they qualify again.

“The win will be very important for the team because we need that position where we can get back to Africa. Even though we didn’t perform well, we got some experience,” Lungu said yesterday.

Getting that win is easier said than done, though. Pirates, just like SuperSport, are eyeing a return to Africa, albeit via the Champions League route, which requires them to finish second in the league.

Already, Pirates’ fate is out of their hands as they are third on the log with 49 points, one behind second-placed Stellenbosch FC.

Pirates head into the final match against SuperSport after back-to-back losses. Hence, they need to do their part against SuperSport and win, and hope that Stellies drop points away to Richards Bay tomorrow.

Lungu concedes that it won’t be an easy game for either side, though, given what’s at stake.

“Yes, they are chasing for that number two spot, plus they haven’t won in the past two games. It will be difficult for both teams,” Lungu said.

“They are fighting for something, and we are also fighting for something. Stellenbosch is also playing some good football right now.”

SuperSport will enter Orlando eagerly awaited by two former ‘Spartans’, Thalente Mbatha and Patrick Maswanganyi, who’ve shone for the Sea Robbers this season. But the Zambian international is not fazed.

“Sometimes people go into matches thinking that this person might be the target man, only to find out he’s not even in the team,” Lungu said.

“I personally go into matches thinking for myself: how will I play or do this? And I look at the person who’s playing against me then, what is he good at.

“Patrick and Thalente are from SuperSport, but they haven’t been here to see the improvement of the other players.”

Pirates are favourites on paper, given that they boast a talented squad that should dominate – alongside Sundowns – in the PSL end-of-season awards nominees list that will be announced today at noon.

SuperSport, meanwhile, have had to rely on youngsters this season after players such as Maswanganyi and Mbatha were sold to stabilise the club’s finances.

Lungu, though, says senior players such as himself, Thulani Hlatshwayo and club captain Onismor Bhasera have ensured that they’ve made the youngsters feel at home.

“Some of the youngsters may think that ‘yeah, I am playing with ‘Tyson’ (Hlatshwayo), he’s scary’, just to find out that he’s the sweetest person you can ever meet – just like Bhasera,” Lungu said.

“It’s different in other teams because you have a lot of senior players, and they are very serious. They don’t make it an environment where kids can enjoy their football.

“But I feel SuperSport is a different place to be at because we treat everyone equally. We love all the youngsters, and we make them as comfortable as possible.”