Lebese’s move to Sun­downs might be the wake-up call he needs

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

FOR as long as I can re­mem­ber, Ge­orge Lebese has al­ways been a “promis­ing” player with­out ever ful­fill­ing that prom­ise.

If he didn’t play for Kaizer Chiefs he wouldn’t have gar­nered as much at­ten­tion as he has in a some­what un­der­whelm­ing ca­reer.

Lebese scored a pal­try 30 goals in the 197 matches he played for Chiefs and pro­duced 22 as­sists. Num­bers aside, Lebese didn’t con­sis­tently take the game by the scruff of the neck and turn things around when the Chiefs’ chips were down.

Sim­ply put it, he will not go down in his­tory as one of the best to ever don the black and gold, even if you only look at those who played for the club in the last decade.

This might sound harsh, but these are the words that Lebese needs to hear if he is to be a suc­cess at Mamelodi Sun­downs un­der a coach who doesn’t mince his words and de­mands ex­cel­lence ev­ery day.

Lebese was too com­fort­able at Chiefs, play­ing for the team with the big­gest sup­port base in the coun­try. When Steve Kom­phela benched him, he didn’t re­fine or de­velop his game but took to so­cial me­dia to ex­press his frus­tra­tion and de­sire to “play foot­ball again, re­gard­less of which shirt” he does it wear­ing. His move to Sun­downs al­lows him a new start and gives him an op­por­tu­nity to ful­fil his prom­ise as there is no deny­ing that the 28-year-old is tal­ented.

Pitso Mosi­mane raves about Lebese. I have heard the coach say that he would fit in at the club and he be­lieves he can turn Lebese into one of the best play­ers in the coun­try. Lebese hail­ing from Mamelodi is a bonus for the Brazil­ians, who want to “own” their home. Lucky Mo­homi hasn’t panned out to be the poster-boy the club wanted in hav­ing a Mamelodi lad shining at the Brazil­ians. Lebese could do that, es­pe­cially with his huge mar­ket­ing ap­peal.

But he must be pre­pared to work hard. There are a num­ber of play­ers who joined Sun­downs with prom­ise and turned into some­thing great. Bon­gani Zungu and Kea­gan Dolly were promis­ing young­sters when they joined the club. Now Zungu is play­ing in Portugal, at­tract­ing in­ter­est across Europe, and Dolly is play­ing for French side Mont­pel­lier.

Khama Bil­liat had lots of prom­ise but was too er­ratic in front of goals. He be­came a force in the con­ti­nent, fin­ish- ing as run­ner-up in the Caf award for Foot­baller- of- theYear based in Africa. His scor­ing touch has im­proved just like that of Percy Tau, who went from play­ing in the first di­vi­sion to win­ning the Caf Cham­pi­ons League and tak­ing his brav­ery to Bafana Bafana. These are just some of the ex­am­ples Lebese can look at and be con­fi­dent he made the right de­ci­sion.

For Lebese to suc­ceed though, he must first ad­mit he hasn’t done as much as he should have in the nine years he spent at Amakhosi. It’s time he takes his game to the next level by suc­ceed­ing in a club that has am­bi­tions to not only con­quer the coun­try but also the con­ti­nent. His con­tri­bu­tion at Sun­downs will be judged by not only be­ing flashy on the ball or com­ing up with a cou­ple of as­sists, he also needs to score.

Themba Zwane is a per­fect ex­am­ple of the de­mands Sun­downs place on their wingers. They have to de­fend, at­tack and score. Zwane used to only be good in do­ing one of those things, look­ing good in at­tack. That’s why Dolly played ahead of him be­cause the lad from West­bury also scored, which is what at­tracted Mont­pel­lier to bring him to Ligue 1. Zwane im­proved and is now scor­ing reg­u­larly.

This trans­fer win­dow has been very busy with big names mov­ing around, build­ing on the en­ter­tain­ing spec­ta­cle last sea­son was. The past cam­paign kept us en­ter­tained as there were five teams vy­ing for the cham­pi­onship at one point. This sea­son prom­ises to be even bet­ter with a num­ber of plots and sub­plots. It feels good that the long wait is over af­ter the sea­son started last night with Bid­vest Wits host­ing Golden Ar­rows in the open­ing round of the MTN8. As much as last sea­son was en­ter­tain­ing, it shouldn’t be the bench­mark. Lebese also needs to have a sim­i­lar mind­set, not be con­tend with hav­ing a few good mo­ments but be con­sis­tently good. It’s time for him to de­liver on that prom­ise.

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