Manyama: Cape Town City’s captain fantastic

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  • Post published:January 19, 2017

Lebogang Manyama has undergone somewhat of a revival which has helped Cape Town City ruffle some PSL feathers, writes NICK SAID in SoccerClub magazine.

Cape Town City’s fine start to their maiden season in the Premier Soccer League is down to a number of factors, not least the resurgent form
of captain Lebogang Manyama.

The agile playmaker appears at times to glide across the pitch with a silky elegance as he orchestrates the City attack, providing deft touches, intelligent runs and a calmness in front of goal.

It is all a million miles away from the player whose fortunes appeared on the wane after a failed move to SuperSport United and an indifferent loan spell at Mpumalanga Black Aces in the last campaign.

He was not helped by an injury ordeal in which he broke three toes and endured a recovery prognosis which went from ‘weeks’ on the sidelines to what would turn out to be six months.

But all of that is behind him as he revels in a return to Cape Town, where he was given his PSL break at Ajax in the 2010-11 season, in which the club lost the league title on the final day.

His return to top form and to the cusp of a Bafana Bafana recall has come, he says, because he is feeling more settled in his environment.

‘This season has been good for me,’ he said. ‘Luckily, I have got people who support me, the coaches, my teammates, even the office staff; they have all helped me a lot.

‘For me, it is about enjoying myself and I’m doing that … but I also always think I can do better.’

City were born out of the ashes of Mpumalanga Black Aces after the franchise was sold to John Comitis at the end of last season. But Manyama says the fact that 14 players from last year’s AmaZayoni squad made the move to the Mother City has been a big factor in his and
the team’s form.

‘You have got to give credit to the coach [Eric Tinkler]; he has done well to get players from all over the world together in a small squad. Luckily, we have 14 players from Aces; we know each other very well.

‘The guys who came in were mostly experienced players, so it wasn’t difficult to get the relationships in the team going.’

Manyama’s brace of goals in a well-deserved 2-1 league victory over newly-crowned African champions Mamelodi Sundowns was a perfect illustration of what he is talking about.

Movement, understanding and two expert finishes saw City to arguably their best win of the campaign to date. ‘I got two good assists from Aubrey [Ngoma]. We have worked on them since last season and I know where he puts the ball when he gets to that position.’

As for what’s achievable for City and Manyama this season, the player believes it’s too early to predict. ‘I won’t say we will finish fourth, like last season [at Black Aces], but we are going in the right direction. It’s hard in the PSL; you win one game and then lose the next
and you are eighth or ninth in the table.

‘We will look to finish as high as we can. Our first priority is to get to 30 points to avoid relegation. The top eight would be a bonus.’


Manyama has scored three goals in seven appearances for Bafana Bafana since making his debut in 2013.


Manyama is not the only player kicking into a new gear despite getting older …

Tiyani Mabunda (Mamelodi Sundowns)
Mabunda couldn’t get anywhere near the Sundowns starting lineup in his first two and a half seasons at Chloorkop, but since April 2016 has been one of the first names on the team sheet, winning the league title and an African Champions League medal.

Willard Katsande (Kaizer Chiefs)
Former club Ajax Cape Town laughed when Chiefs made a bid for Katsande in 2011, believing the powers that be at Naturena had lost their marbles. He’s now one of the best defensive midfielders in the PSL.

Cole Alexander (SuperSport United) 
Alexander never cracked the nod on a regular basis in six seasons at Ajax Cape Town, which included two loan spells away from the club. A move to Polokwane City in 2014 changed his fortunes and he has since joined SuperSport United.

Thabo Rakhale (Orlando Pirates)
Rakhale had a number of loan spells away from Pirates before his breakthrough season at the club in the 2015-16 campaign.

– This article first appeared in Issue 76 of SoccerClub magazine