Mokoena hoping for regular game time under new SuperSport United coach Tinkler

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Teboho Mokoena - SuperSport United
Mokoena maintains that not even he could have predicted that he would be a regular at Matsatsantsa so soon

SuperSport United will face off against Orlando Pirates in the Nedbank Cup final on Saturday.

For SuperSport’s Teboho Mokoena the clash is more than a chance at silverware, but rather the culmination of what has been a meteoric rise. The 20-year-old has become an integral part of coach Stuart Baxter’s side and has taken to the team like a fish takes to water. His impressive displays have subsequently earned him praise from many within the football fraternity, but even he admits that his success has taken him by surprise.

“I’m still pinching myself,” Mokoena told The Saturday Star.

“I honestly did not think I would be a regular. Yes, I set targets to be in the first team as a New Year’s resolution, but I really thought a proper chance to play week-in week-out would only come next season,” Mokoena explained.

“I sat on the bench quite a lot in the first half of this season, and even watched the Telkom Knockout final (which SuperSport narrowly lost 2-1 to Cape Town City in December) from the stands. So, getting this much game time in the second round was the furthest thing from my mind.

“It would be an incredible amount for me to lift a cup in such a short space of time at SuperSport. It is hard sometimes to grasp that I am playing at this level,” Mokoena added.

“I ask myself time and time again how is it that I got this far, but I think I worked hard for it, and to get a trophy at the end of what has been an interesting six months for me would be a massive achievement not just for me, but my family as well,” Mokoena said.

Coach Baxter has been instrumental in the youngster’s progression over the last six months, but with the Briton set for his final swansong before departing to take over the national team, Mokoena is determined to continue his hard work and impress the incoming Eric Tinkler.

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“It’s a new challenge,” he said.

“It means I must work just as hard, or even more, like I did when coach Stuart was here. I want to gain coach Eric Tinkler’s trust because I want to retain my position in the team. At the end of the day, it is about how much I want this,” Mokoena concluded.