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HomeDStv PremiershipHunt Hails Teen Sensation As Their 'Best Player'

Hunt Hails Teen Sensation As Their ‘Best Player’

SuperSport United head coach Gavin Hunt says teenage defender Eme Okon has been their best player this season thus far.

Okon was tipped for a first-team breakthrough this season by club CEO Stan Matthews at their annual awards ceremony after an impressive first season in the reserve team.

He was instrumental alongside the likes of Gape Moralo and Shandre Campbell as they won the DStv Diski Challenge and several earned first-team promotions and it appears Campbell and Okon will be central to the plans this season.

“Our best player has been Eme, for the last three games, the 18-year-old centre-back, and then he broke his thumb, that’s why he didn’t play [against City],” Hunt said when asked about Siyanda Xulu playing alongside Thulani Hlatshwayo as an experience pairing.

“He’s been our best player, by far… and he couldn’t play – so Siyanda came in the week before the season started, he wasn’t fit, he has to play… everyone talking, I hear the media saying ‘why’re you not playing him’.

“But he [Siyanda] hasn’t trained [much], he’s not done anything yet, what do you want me to do? Stick him in cold? The kid [Eme] would have played tonight and Siyanda on the bench again because he’s been our best player by far and he will be [our best player], he’s a fantastic player.”

Ime Okon of Supersport United during 2023 MTN8 quarterfinal match between Supersport United and Stellenbosch FC at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on 13 August 2023 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

When probed about why he didn’t make his debut last season, with one of the regrets Matthews hinted was playing Thamsanqa Gabuza instead of Okon against Dondol Stars in the Nedbank Cup, Hunt suggested he felt it was too early.

“I signed him from Randburg Football Club last season, and he came in played Diski after coming from a U18 team, we looked at him, we had TT and Tyson and Fleurs… it wasn’t the right time [for him to play],” Hunt explained about his sudden emergence.

“But I knew then and then, he will play in the first team and then pre-season he was magnificent, Siyanda [Xulu] came in last week… I threw [Okon] in, that’s me, you know me, I play Shandre [Campbell], Keagan [Johannes], Jabu Matsio, I play the kids. I believe they are good enough, so you must play them.”

Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Köhler is an award-winning South African football journalist. Having cut his teeth in the industry working at Kick-Off Magazine, he is now iDiski Times' senior digital content writer. He specialises in breaking top African football stories and transfers with a major focus on the 'big-three' Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates and CAF inter-club and international competitions. In 2021 he was listed amongst the top-five journalists under 30 in Print Media for the AIPS Awards.