DURBAN - Mamelodi Sundowns' new recruit Lyle Lakay is confident he will succeed at Chloorkop. Lakay joined Masandawana from Cape Town City on a five-year contract this week. The left-footed dynamo will be competing against Aubrey Ngoma and George Lebese for a position on the left wing.
Ngoma and Lebese have struggled for game time at Sundowns, but Lakay is not too concerned he might be a spectator during his tenure with the reigning Premiership champions. “I’m happy to be back in Pretoria where I made my debut. I’m excited to join a club of Sundowns' calibre. I’m really looking forward to the new challenge," Lakay said confidently.
"I’m experienced and more mature now then I was when I was at SuperSport United. Healthy competition always gets the best out of you as a player, and competing with good players at Sundowns will make me a better player. I can also operate as left wing-back, so I can compete in a number of positions and that’s why I’m confident I will enjoy my time at Sundowns.
At left wing-back, Lakay will have the mammoth task of dethroning the well-established Tebogo Langerman. “When Tebogo joined Sundowns he was a winger, but was converted in to a left-wing-back. Thapelo Morena was also a winger when he was at Bloemfontein Celtic, but was converted in to a right wing-back. I can also play as left-wing-back. But I’m ready to play anywhere I’m required, to perform my duties," Lakay said.
Many talented Cape-born players have a bad history of fumbling in Gauteng. Players like Carlo Scott, Nathan Paulse, Franklin Cale, Eleazar Rodgers, Erwin Isaacs, Sameegh Doutie, Riyaad Norodien and Thando Mngomeni dazzled for Cape teams, but struggled in Gauteng. But Lakay can boast of his experiences in Bloemfontein and in Pretoria.
“Being away from home at a very young age really helped me. I stayed six years in Bloemfontein and I was at SuperSport United Academy for a while and graduated into the senior team. I’m used to the challenge of playing away from home and that will help me to settle at Sundowns,” he said.
Sundowns have enjoyed a trophy-laden spell during the flamboyant Pitso Mosimane’s tenure at the club. Lakay wants to contribute and improve his list of medals. “I’ve only won one trophy in my career - the Telkom Knockout when I was with Bloemfontein Celtic," he said.
"Last season I was left short with Cape Town City when we lost to SuperSport United in the final of the MTN 8. I want to win more trophies and that is one of the reasons I joined Sundowns. I want to compete for everything. Sundowns is a winning team and everyone want to be part of a winning team."
Sundowns have recently lost two of their best players in Percy Tau and Khama Billiat. The 28-year-old Zimbambean opted against renewing his contract with Sundowns and joined Kaizer Chiefs, while Tau is on his way to the English Premier League outfit Brighton.
“The new players at Sundowns are not under pressure. The whole team is under pressure to perform,” Lakay said.