It is going to be difficult to replace Letsholonyane, admits SuperSport United coach Tinkler

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Tinkler is hopeful that an experienced referee will take charge of their Caf Confederation Cup final encounter against TP Mazembe

SuperSport United returned to South Africa on Tuesday after securing their place in the Caf Confederation Cup final for the very first time in their history.

Matsatsantsa beat Tunisia’s Club Africain, setting up a crunch encounter against the defending champions TP Mazembe in November, but while celebrations are still in full swing, SuperSport’s coach Eric Tinkler has already turned his focus to the first leg in Lubumbashi.

The 47-year-old, who is set to take charge of his second Confederation Cup final after falling to Etoile du Sahel two years ago during his time with Orlando Pirates, has expressed his wish to see an experienced and fearless referee take charge of the away leg.

"You need a good and experienced referee, especially against a team like TP Mazembe, because I know what happened the last time when I was with Pirates," Tinkler told the media. 

"You need a referee who has no fear and that is important because going to Mazembe you have heard stories in the past, and we hope that those things don't happen this year," he said.

But Tinkler believes that the players should not allow themselves to be distracted by talk of hostility and match officials on the day, saying they should rather focus on the job at hand.

"For the players, they must just focus on the field because there are certain things you can't control," Tinkler said.

"We have to give our best with regard to our preparations and on the field, and don't be affected by a bad decision here and there," he added.

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Meanwhile, Tinkler confirmed that he will have a selection headache ahead of the clash with both Morgan Gould and Reneilwe Letsholonyane set to miss the first leg through suspension.

"Yeye (Letsholonyane) and Morgan (Gould) are suspended, but I thought Tefu Mashamaite was exceptional when he came on because he showed great composure when we needed it, and I have no fear with him coming in as a replacement for Morgan," Tinkler explained.

"In midfield, it is going to be difficult to replace Yeye because we don't really have another one like him. Sipho Mbule is probably the closest that we have to him," he concluded.

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