Coach has Lungu as secret weapon against Pirates

Lungu was one of the star players in the Zambian Premier League last season when he scored 16 goals

SuperSport United coach Kaitano Tembo is set to unleash highly-rated Zambian forward Ghampani Lungu in their anticipated MTN8 quarterfinal clash against Orlando Pirates at Orlando Stadium on Saturday night.

The 20-year-old was handed his Absa Premiership debut during United’s 1-0 win over AmaZulu on Wednesday when he came on for Fagrie Lakay in the closing stages.

Tembo is expected to use him as a surprise package against Pirates.

“He is a youngster with lots of potential and we brought him here from Power Dynamos in Zambia where he did very well in the league‚” said Tembo.

“We want to introduce a few youngsters this season. He is a striker but we want to convert him into a winger and South Africans are going to see a lot of him because he is a quality player. He scores goals and we must just introduce him slowly in the PSL.”

Lungu was one of the star players in the Zambian Premier League last season when he scored 16 goals for Dynamos and contributed 22 assists.

The other young player in the United team who will be given an opportunity to prove himself by Tembo is winger Lakay‚ who was named man of the match in their first victory of the season against AmaZulu during the week.

“I think he has come of age. We have had him for the past three seasons and he has been on the fringes all this time‚” Tembo said.

“We loaned him out a couple of times to clubs in the NFD to gain experience and experience different environments, but we have never doubted his qualities. He has grown as a person and player and I personally expect many things from him this season.

“I have spoken to him and he understands what is expected of him‚ and I have no doubt that he is going to help us.”

In the win over AmaZulu‚ Tembo started with midfielder Reneilwe Letsholonyane and Thuso Phala on the bench but they are likely to feature against Pirates at the weekend because of their experience.

“It is about managing the players properly; we have just come out of preseason and not many players can play 90 minutes in three days‚” the coach said.

“We wanted to have a fresh squad and we opted to leave them out of the starting lineup, but we will consider them against Pirates.”

● Pirates have been given a boost after the club revealed that winger Luvuyo Memela is nearing full fitness and that goalkeeper Brilliant Khuzwayo’s ankle surgery came through without a glitch.

Khuzwayo was last week ruled out for three to four weeks after injuring his ankle and missed Bucs’ 1-1 Absa Premiership opening draw at home to Highlands Park.

“Khuzwayo’s surgery was a success and the goalkeeper is undergoing rehabilitation with the Bucs medical staff‚” the club said.

Zambian striker Augustine Mulenga‚ who missed Pirates’ second match‚ Wednesday night’s 10-man‚ 1-0 win against Chippa United in Port Elizabeth‚ with flu‚ may return when Bucs meet SuperSport United in their MTN8 quarterfinal at Orlando Stadium on Saturday night.

Thabo Qalinge will undergo physiotherapy‚ the club added. – Additional reporting by Tiisetso Malepa