SUPERSPORT United coach Kaitano Tembo has challenged budding midfielder Sipho Mbule to up his game if he wants to stake a claim for a permanent place in the side.

The 21-year-old has started four of Matsatsantsa a Pitori’s six matches in all competitions so far this season, producing a couple of eye-catching performances.

After starting from the bench in United’s Absa Premiership clash against Baroka, Mbule was reinstalled into the starting 11 against Tshwane rivals Mamelodi Sundowns in the first leg of their MTN8 semi-final last weekend.

He produced another solid display in United’s midfield as they were held to a 1-1 draw at the Lucas Moripe Stadium.

Despite Mbule’s impressive start to the season, Tembo is not quite satisfied with His contribution and would like to see more end product from his classy play.

“I think there is still a lot of work that needs to be done with him,” said Tembo.

“He needs to be more of an effective player. He needs to start scoring goals and providing assists because we play with two number 10s, him and Tebza (Mokoena), they need to chip in with the goals.

“Tebza scored about six goals last season and is yet to score this time around.

“I expect Sipho to create and score goals so there is still a lot of work for him. He needs to continue working hard because if he slacks, then he will find himself on the bench. But I’m happy with the progress he has made. He just needs to stay humble and keep working.”

Tembo believes the midfielder will need to adapt to his game as the season progresses because as he has already begun to attract some special attention from teams who come up against them.

Nevertheless, he expects the Free State-born star to play a key role for Matsatsantsa this season as they look to challenge for silverware.

“Sipho is a different kind of a player. He needs to play. When he doesn’t have the ball he’s not quite as effective,” added Tembo.

“A lot of teams are now aware of his quality and are now pressing him. He needs to work hard and up his game because teams now know that he can cause them problems if they do not focus on him. They are pressing him higher and much tighter. He needs to work harder to free himself and find space to play.”