JOHANNESBURG – Kaizer Chiefs say they have released star midfielder George Lebese to join rivals Mamelodi Sundowns at the players’ request.
Amakhosi football manager Bobby Motaung was quoted on the club’s website late on Thursday confirming the 28-year-old had been sold to his boyhood team Sundowns “for an undisclosed fee”.
Lebese had one more year to run on his contract, and had long hinted his future might be away from the club when he took to Twitter during pre-season and claimed he’d be happy to wear any football jersey, as long as he is on the pitch.
Sundowns had been looking for a replacement for Bafana international Keagan Dolly, who was allowed to join French Ligue 1 outfit Montpellier in January.
Aubrey Ngoma of Cape Town City was the initial target, but his current injury and City’s reluctance to sell him put Sundowns off, the Brazilians quickly turning their attention to Lebese, who has appeared unsettled at Chiefs for several months now.
“The deal was concluded in the afternoon,” explained Motaung. “We have seen Lebese grow with us and we released him at his request.
“Kaizer Chiefs do not stand in the way when players express their desire to leave. It’s our policy, and we wish Lebese well.”
Chiefs will now likely hunt for their own replacement of the winger and have until August 31, when the transfer window shuts.
The sale of Lebese means the Glamour Boys will now host SuperSport United on Saturday night in Durban minus a player who was certainly popular with the fans, but not so much for coach Steve Komphela.
He featured in 22 league appearances last season, mostly from the bench, as he played second fiddle to Edmore Chirambadare.
He becomes the third big-name signing for Sundowns so far following the arrival of Ghanaian goalkeeper Brimah Razak and Orlando Pirates captain Oupa Manyisa last week.
The Brazilians host Maritzburg United at Lucas Moripe Stadium in the MTN8 quarter-final on Sunday, but it is unlikely Lebese will feature, while Manyisa could be on the bench at least.