Kemp backs Tando to shine

Newly re-signed defender Matthew Kemp believes the culture of Melbourne Victory will bolster the development of young goalkeeper Tando Velaphi, who has signed a two-year deal with the club.

Newly re-signed defender Matthew Kemp believes the culture of Melbourne Victory will bolster the development of young goalkeeper Tando Velaphi, who has signed a two-year deal with the club.

Velaphi, who will join the club for their upcoming AFC Champions League campaign, has played a remarkable amount of senior football for a 23-year-old keeper, featuring in 73 games for the Glory.

While he has produced some fine performances in that time, Velaphi has also been criticised for making serious errors which have led to goals.

Kemp said that errors are a part of the learning experience, but backed the keeper to flourish under the culture of the Victory which has nurtured talent like Mitch Langerak and Robbie Kruse in recent years.

"It's tough as a young goalkeeper to even get a chance, so at his age to played as much as he has is a credit to him. I think, like any player, he needs to improve, hopefully when he comes here, working under the framework, with the players and the coaching staff we have here, he'll hopefully be able to improve his game," Kemp said.

Kemp is well-qualified to speak about players coming from other clubs to flourish under Victory's system. Since joining from Adelaide in 2007, he has become one of the Hyundai A-League's finest defenders and was rewarded with Socceroos selection before being cut down by a serious knee injury 12 months ago.

Kemp rates the culture of Victory as second-to-none with Kruse's development over the past 18 months evidence of the improvement players can make under the right system.

"There's a great culture here. The emphasis is on working hard and improving your game and Robbie's been testament to that. He's done a fantastic job since coming here," he said.

"The opportunity is here for any player wants to work on their game. The experience of the boys here and the coaching staff mean you have every opportunity to improve you game as much as you can. I'm sure Tando can improve as much as the likes of Mitch Langerak did."

Kemp recently re-committed to the club for another two years, saying there is no place he'd rather be as he bids to re-discover his best form.

"It's such a great club and it's great to have that security for another couple of years," he said.

"It's great that the club has shown that faith in me after such a serious injury. To give me a couple of more years, they are confident that I can get back to my best."

Matthew Foschini and Tom Pondeljak, two players at the opposite end of their career, also agreed to extensions, with each signing on for another year.

Despite recently turning 35, Pondeljak revealed that he had never considered retirement at season's end and was delighted to be given the opportunity to go on.

"I've felt fit and fine and the GPS results are a great indicator and the coaching staff have been really happy with that and they believe I have something to offer for next season," he said.

"I've always had the intention of playing on, it was whether the coaching staff and the club thought I was worthy of another year and they do, so. I'm really grateful for that."