JOHANNESBURG – Lebohang Maboe’s father Sidwell has been a pillar of strength in his son’s blossoming career.
And when an offer to join Mamelodi Sundowns came knocking, he advised him to grab the opportunity with both hands.
Maboe senior is an experienced campaigner in top-flight football after spells with Bloemfontein Celtic and Orlando Pirates, where he won the BP Top 8 and BobSave Super Bowl, before eventually surfacing at AmaZulu, Free State Stars and SuperSport United.
“My father plays a big role in my life,” said Maboe junior. “Everything that I do goes via him first.
“He’s played football at the highest level before me, so he always advises me on any offers that come up. But I can confirm that he’s definitely not my agent.
“Even when I left Chiefs to go and play in the National First Division, my father advised me that sometimes in life you’ve got to take a step backwards in order to take three forward.”
After a terrific season with Maritzburg United last campaign, Maboe’s future became a subject of concern within the football fraternity, with some reports linking him to the big three clubs locally, and others to European teams.
But the 23-year-old midfielder finally put all that speculation to bed and, two days before the opening match of the 2018/2019 campaign, tied himself down on a long-term deal with Sundowns.
His biggest wish has been to make a breakthrough in continental football, and Maritzburg’s failure to win the Nedbank Cup and finish in the top three in the Absa Premiership meant he had to wait at least another season before trying again.
And that was apparently a wait too long for Maboe.
“My move to Sundowns only took a week to materialise,” he said. “The chairman (Farook Kadodia) called and told me about the offer, and I didn’t hesitate to look at it.
“There was some European interest, but no concrete offer. So, it was the right time for me to make the move because Sundowns is a big team.
“One of the goals I had with Maritzburg was to play in the Caf competition this season and it wasn’t going happen, so me staying another season there wasn’t going to do it for me.”
Maboe says that he joined the Brazilians because he wants to help the club to continue their local and continental success.
And today is no different as they begin their search for MTN8 glory against Golden Arrows at Lucas Moripe Stadium (3pm kickoff).
There’d be no better and immediate contribution from Maboe than to ensure that they finally claim their first MTN8 trophy since the mobile giants took over as backers in 2008.
“We’ve really got a big squad that can allow us to cope with all the games that are coming,” he explained. “Arrows, though, are a hard-working team, so we need to bring our A-game.”@Mihlalibaleka