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