SuperSport United coach Kaitano Tembo has hailed the debut of new Zambian signing Ghampani Lungu, who played his first game against Orlando Pirates at the weekend in an unusual right-back position.
The-20-year-old attacker, who joined from Power Dynamos, was pressed into defensive service after Grant Kekana picked up a knock on the eve of the MTN8 quarter-final.
With Siyabonga Nhlapo and Jamie Webber already sidelined through injury, SuperSport were facing a crisis on the right side of defence and Phiri was asked to play at the back, leaving a favourable impression.
“There is still a lot to come from him. After we lost Grant in our pre-match preparation we didn’t have any other option but I could see that he [Phiri] was one boy who has got hunger and a desire to succeed and I knew that he would grab this opportunity, whereever he plays.
“He showed that against Pirates,” Tembo told reporters after SuperSport bundled the Buccaneers out of the MTN8 on post-match penalties on Saturday.
The quarter-final tie ended 2-2 after extra time with debutant Phiri on for the full two hours.
“I didn’t have any doubt in terms of his attitude. I knew that he would make mistakes here and there because it’s not his natural position but I’m really happy for him. I think he’s well grounded and he’ll improve with time as well, especially when he plays in his natural position.
“He’s quite a good goalscorer, he’s scored a lot of goals and that’s where we really want him to play. Against Pirates it was just stop-gap cover but we really want him to play as a forward.”
Lungu came to prominence with 16 goals in the Zambian league last year with newly promoted National Assembly.
SuperSport had him on a trial at the start of the year and signed him, but then left him on loan at Power Dynamos before taking him to South Africa for pre-season and registering him for the new campaign.