Thatayaone Ditlhokwe has established himself as an undisputed starter in Kaitano Tembo’s Supersport United defence since joining the club in January this year. When fit and available, Ditlhokwe is always one of the first names on the team sheet for Tembo as the player provides variable ways of playing.
He is also versatile enough to fit in different systems, he can be deployed as a left sided central defender in a traditional back four system or as the far left defender in a back three formation. With pace, strength and accurate passing, the defender has proved to be an asset for Supersport. However, with great talent comes the inevitable first team casualties who had not previously been accustomed to playing second fiddle before.
A case in point is the departure of highly rated defender Clayton Daniels who had to part ways with the club due to Tembo’s aim to use a more youthful back-line marshalled by Ditlhokwe. At 22 years old, Ditlhokwe offers more long term stability as opposed to the 36 year old Daniels. Supersport were wary of Daniels’ long term place in the team and they could not guarantee him first team football over the next few years.
Daniels was quoted by South African publication KickOff explaining his recent departure from the club saying, “It’s been a couple of weeks [that we parted ways] but we put it in the media on Thursday. What led to that situation is we couldn’t agree on a longer-term contract. So I felt like I still have another two years in me, two, three years in me and… the club has a new policy of developing younger boys. And there’s nothing wrong with that, I just feel like I can still play regular football, I don’t have to sit on the bench or sit on the stands. I asked for a longer-term contract but we couldn’t agree, and also with the Covid-19 and all that is going on financially with the club.”
Former Tottenham Hotspur defender and Bafana Bafana captain Bongani Khumalo has also seen chances limited in Tembo’s youthful side.