DURBAN – History suggests that Lebogang Maboe has his back against the wall at Mamelodi Sundowns.
The midfield dynamo joined Masandawana from Maritzburg United earlier this month.
Maboe was one of the significant figures for the Team of Choice last season. His exquisite passes, flash skills and his ability to blow away the opponent with verve is exactly what caught the eye of loquacious Sundowns coach, Pitso “Jingles” Mosimane.
His career at Sundowns has started decently but there’s no doubt Maboe realises he is up against the odds.
Former United stars have, in the past, failed to living up to their billing at Sundowns. The two clubs have been trading for a while, and the likes of Musa Nyatama, Cuthbert Malajila, Mario Booysen and Rheece Evans – all regular starters at United – were destined to become bench warmers at Chloorkop.
Maboe is facing the daunting task of changing the pattern, and the reigning Nedbank Cup Player of the Tournament is oozing with confidence.
Because of his versatility, Maboe can operate in a number of positions, which is something he can use in to his advantage in a Sundowns set up that boasts an array of stars.
Maboe can operate on both flanks, behind the strikers and as an attacking midfielder.
In midfield, Maboe is facing strong competition from the likes of Oupa Manyisa, Themba Zwane, Sibusiso Vilakazi and Lucky Mohomi.
Maboe was in a buoyant mood when he moved to Sundowns, but it is time for him to work diligently and established himself as a regular for the Brazilians.
Nyatama signed for Sundowns in 2010 and was loaned back to the Team of Choice.
In 2011, Sundowns recalled him to Gauteng, where he started well and received a Bafana Bafana call up after his impressive displays.
A few months later, Nyatama struggled to command a regular starting berth with the likes of Teko Modise dictating terms in the middle of the park.
In 2013, Nyatama had to settle for a loan move to Bloemfontein Celtic in a quest to get regular game-time.
Nyatama finally parted ways with Sundowns in 2015, and joined Celtic permanently.
Malajila is still at Sundowns but his contributions has been minimal since joining Masandawana in 2013.
Two seasons ago he was loaned out to Bidvest Wits. His progress was hampered by injuries last season.
During his spell with the Team of Choice, he was fearsome and lethal in front of goals but the masses have forgotten about those abilities, because of his time in the stands, if not on the bench.
Evans and Booysen both failed to make a mark at Sundowns, with the former appearing in just four matches, and Booysen playing just 17 times.
The duo had to settle for loan spells at Ajax Cape Town and SuperSport United respectively. They both joined Sundowns in 2014.
It is all up to Maboe to change the patter and leave his mark at Sundowns.