DURBAN – George Lebese joined Mamelodi Sundowns from Kaizer Chiefs last season with huge expectations, but has now turned into a spectator at his new home.
Lebese is struggling to even make the 18-man squad these days. He was also left behind this past weekend as the Brazilians defeated AmaZulu 2-1 to lift the Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi Legacy Cup on Saturday at Ulundi Stadium in KwaZulu-Natal.
Lyle Lakay and Themba Zwane propelled Sundowns to victory, while Siyabonga Nomvethe netted the consolation for Usuthu.
Aubrey Ngoma operated as the left winger, exchanging positions on the flanks with Gaston Sirino.
Siphelele Mkhulisi came on in the second half. Assistant coach at Sundowns, Manqoba Mngqithi, challenged Lebese to double his efforts if he wants to start games at Sundowns.
“Believe me, it is very difficult to play for Sundowns. If I were to give you that position as the coach now and say okay I’ve not been playing Anthony Laffor, and George,” Mngqithi said.
“That position is the position that Mshishi (Themba Zwane) is playing. It is also the position that Gaston (Sirino) is playing. It is also a position that Ali Menza is playing. It is also a position that Pitso, the youngstar (Siphelele Mkhulisi) is playing. Aubrey Ngoma is also playing that position.”
Lebese is yet to make an appearance this season.
“It is not easy for us because if we put that one ahead of that one, it is purely because at training we see that he is going to do better. When he is not playing well it gives an opportunity to ask why that one is not playing,” Mngqithi added.
Last season, Lebese started 10 PSL matches and netted twice in those appearances for Sundowns.
“It is not about him accepting what I’ve just said. It is all about him fighting for himself. He must fight,“ Mngqithi elaborated.
Sundowns will now shift focus to the Telkom Knockout where they will welcome Bloemfontein Celtic to the Lucas Moripe Stadium this Saturday.
“Fortunately when you’ve been a big player maybe it is very difficult to come to a team where you are not perceived as one of their key players,” Mngqithi said
“He (Lebese) is a very good player, believe me. He one of the most technically (gifted) players that I’ve worked with.
“I’ve just prayed that he gets an opportunity one day and he takes it because it is about getting an opportunity and taking it. All these players have heard their own opportunities and they don’t take them.”