Manyama wants to keep shining for City
BEING away from the glitz and glamour of Johannesburg has contributed massively to Lebogang Manyama’s accomplishment.
It was Manyama’s night at the Premier Soccer league (PSL) on Monday at the Sandton Convention Centre.
The Cape Town City striker walked away with three accolades, including the big one, the PSL Footballer of the Season.
He also won the Players’ Player of the Season and the Golden Boot awards.
The lad from Tembisa was rewarded with the whopping R425 000 for his contribution to his club’s success in 2016/17.
The Footballer of the Season award is worth R250 000 and the Players’ Player is rewarded with prize-money of R150 000. In addition, there is a R25 000 payday for his 13 strikes.
Speaking after the awards, Manyama attributed his triumph to “the boring life of Cape Town”.
“There’s nothing with me and Cape Town. It is a matter of how I conducted myself mentally. Fortunately all the good moments happen when I’m in Cape Town. It’s a lovely place. We’ve earned so much respect in that part of the world,” Manyama said.
“People love us on that side. Maybe the reason I always do well in Cape Town is because life is slow, relaxed and boring. That helps us to focus more on the game. If it is working, why change it?”
Manyama seems to enjoy life whenever he is in Cape Town. He was a member of the Ajax Cape Town side that played outstanding football under Foppe de Haan in the 2010/11 season.
But during his spell with SuperSport United, before he joined Black Aces, he made headlines for the wrong reasons, mostly involving drinking.
“To be quite honest, the seven months that I was out (injured) taught me a lot about how to approach my game. Even off the field, obviously I made a couple of mistakes when I was at SuperSport. It is something I won’t hide and I learned from my mistakes. I always say in life you never lose but you learn. Even when I was out I watched the games and told myself ‘You know what, I must come back and enjoy myself’.
“Luckily when I was injured, coach Muhsin Ertugral asked me to join him at Black Aces. I think that was a life-changing moment for me,” Manyama explains.
The marksman followed in the foot-steps of legends such as Siyabonga Nomvethe, Collins Mbesuma, Pollen Ndlanya and Wilfred Mugeyi, who all won both the Footballer of the Season and Golden Boots Awards.
Next season he will be working alongside former Bafana Bafana great Benni McCarthy, who was recently hired as coach of Cape Town City.
McCarthy replaces Eric Tinkler, who joined SuperSport United to fill the void left by Stuart Baxter, who took on the Bafana coaching position.
“Before Wits signed Schillo (Steven Pienaar) we had the best ‘signing’ of the season in Benni. There aren’t enough words to describe Benni. He is someone who has a lot to share,” Manyama says. “We are lucky to be the first to benefit from that. All I can ask as captain is that he be given an opportunity. Don’t come and compare him to Zinedine Zidane, Zidane is Zidane at Real Madrid and Benni is Benni at Cape Town City. Judge him at the end of the season. He deserves an opportunity to show what he can do.”
It is an open secret that Mamelodi Sundowns are chasing the signature of Manyama, with coach Pitso Mosimane unequivocal in his admiration for the player.
“It is huge honour to hear him saying that. He is currently the number one coach in Africa, and Sundowns are the number one team,” Manyama says.
“This is football – when you do well you will attract attention. I’m used to that. When I was doing well Ajax, teams like Chiefs and Pirates came knocking. If it’s all speculation, it is okay, it’s doesn’t bother me. Until my team comes to me I will treat that as speculation.” Next season City will be campaigning in Africa, having qualified for a CAF Confederation Cup spot after finishing third.
“I’m looking foward to playing in Africa. Recently I was with the national team in Nigeria, and I experienced the atmosphere and those are the kind of stages you want to compete on.
“But we must be very careful in how we approach the competition because it can be damaging to our league campaign. We have to find a way to manage it since we have a small squad, but we look forward to the challenge,” says the man who now carries the title of being SA’s best player.