Winds of change benefit Manyama
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.
LEARNING CURVE Lebogang Manyama is basking in his new role