JOHANNESBURG – Kaizer Chiefs football manager Bobby Motaung has made the bold claim that striker Lebogang Manyama has always wanted to play for Amakhosi.
While promising “one or two” more signings after the club landed Manyama’s signature on a three-year deal from Turkish outfit Konyaspor yesterday, the Chiefs boss insisted that the player should have been at Naturena five years ago.
“This player was supposed to join us as far back as when he was at Ajax Cape Town (in 2013) when Stuart Baxter was here. We had agreed on everything when his agent disappeared and the player turned out at SuperSport United. I don’t want to mention people's names but things were done above board this time,” Motaung said.
“We know that he has always wanted to be here but of course that didn’t happen. He has come back from Turkey now and brings a lot of experience and quality to our team, which is something we have always emphasised given the pressure we are under.”
Manyama received his international clearance from Konyaspor, where he only spent a season and made 11 appearances, late last month, which freed him to join a club of his choice. Motaung suggested, however, that they had to compensate the Turkish club for the former Cape Town City captain.
“Nothing is for free, obviously,” he said.
“I can’t mention the figures and all that, but we had to have discussions in order to get the player to come to us and I am happy we did.
“The timing is right now for him to join us and the difference between now and when we tried to sign him the first time is that his agent (Maimane Phiri) was here to conclude the deal.”
Amakhosi have been under pressure to bolster the team on the back of three years without a trophy and the tepid start under new coach Giovanni Solinas.
The Italian is still searching for his first Absa Premiership win after two draws and a defeat in his opening three league matches. Chiefs face SuperSport in the first leg of their MTN8 semi-final clash on Sunday.
Manyama, who won the coveted Football of the Year award in South Africa while playing for Cape Town City in 2017, was disgruntled in Turkey and had been linked with various clubs before Chiefs pounced.
“It is still a process and we are looking at signing two or more players. We told the coach that we can’t sign players at the same time because we also need his input,” said Motaung. “He remembers Manyama from when he coached Free State Stars and he is excited that this is a player that will bring quality and value.”
Solinas came under fire recently when he said his players were exhausted from the congested fixture list even though Chiefs have only been involved in three league games and one cup match.
“It was obviously too early to talk about fatigue but the back-to-back games are having an impact on the players. So we are signing players to try and help with that. We are looking into the next couple of months also because we will be involved in the Caf Confederation Cup and we need depth,” Motaung said.