Winds of change ben­e­fit Manyama

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI ti­mothy@city­press.co.za

It seems Le­bo­gang Manyama and Cape Town are made for each other.

It was there that the mid­fielder, while at Ajax Cape Town in 2010, first burst into the Premier Soc­cer League arena.

The 26-year-old, Alexan­dra-born mid­fielder was later snatched up by Su­perS­port United, but did not have it good there, and he was loaned to Mpumalanga Black Aces.

Af­ter that, a long-term in­jury de­prived him of a chance to fully dis­play his tal­ent. But as part of the team that was sold to the new Mother City own­ers, his star is on the rise again.

Manyama has been among the top per­form­ers in the league so far this sea­son, but he is not get­ting ahead of him­self.

The Cape Town City cap­tain has adapted to his new role in the team and en­joys the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties that come with the arm­band.

“It’s an hon­our for me to have been given the re­spon­si­bil­ity of lead­ing the team,” he said.

“It shows that peo­ple be­lieve in me and I need to re­pay the faith shown in me.”

He was again on the score­sheet this week when City beat Mar­itzburg United 3-2, to sum­mar­ily hit the top of the league ta­ble. He is the team’s top scorer, with five goals so far.

How­ever, he said credit should also go to other se­nior play­ers in the team who made it eas­ier for him to find his foot­ing.

“I’m learn­ing from [ev­ery] one of them, and it has been great so far. I’m re­ally grate­ful for that.”

He said he had not ex­pected to be given the arm­band, par­tic­u­larly as he had been out with three bro­ken toes. He de­scribed the time spent on the side­lines as the tough­est of his ca­reer.

“It was re­ally tough and too chal­leng­ing for me as I wanted to get back to the field quickly. But I guess it’s part of grow­ing and I learnt that the sooner I ac­cepted the sit­u­a­tion, the bet­ter. I had to sol­dier on.”

While many fel­low play­ers had de­cided not to move to Cape Town with the fran­chise, Manyama did not think twice about it.

“It is a nice place to be in. My life is in Joburg, but I didn’t have a prob­lem mov­ing be­cause, in foot­ball, any­thing is pos­si­ble,” he said.

“You have to ac­cept the sit­u­a­tion you find your­self in rather than refuse it. The sooner I ac­cepted the cir­cum­stances, the eas­ier it be­came for me.”

He said the team was on the right track to achieve this sea­son’s goal of se­cur­ing league sta­tus.

“A top-eight fin­ish will be a bonus for us as our tar­get is to stay in the league. So far so good as our team­work and hard work are pay­ing off,” he said.

“We are all striv­ing to­wards one goal and we be­lieve that, if we work to­gether and stay to­gether, we’ll achieve it.”

He said he still har­boured the am­bi­tion to rep­re­sent the coun­try at in­ter­na­tional level. He has three Bafana Bafana caps.

PHOTO: BACK­PAGEPIX

LEARN­ING CURVE Le­bo­gang Manyama is bask­ing in his new role

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