Mamelodi Sundowns coach Manqoba Mngqithi believes that Lebohang Maboe will thrive in a new No 8 role, eventually becoming a Bafana Bafana regular in this position.
The young attacker was thrown in the deep end on his arrival at Sundowns three years ago. After a superb debut campaign, contributing nine goals and eight assists, he failed to live up to those heights last season.
However, this season things have changed for the in-form Maritzburg United man as co-coaches Mngqithi and Rhulani Mokwena have withdrawn him from an advance role, using him in a deeper central position. Maboe appears to have adjusted seamlessly here, registering two assists in 10 matches so far.
His most recent outing for the Brazilians was on Tuesday at Loftus as his team ran out 3-1 victors against Botswana outfit Jwaneng Galaxy in the Caf Champions League preliminary qualifiers.
‘When we bought Lebo from Maritzburg, we bought him for the position that he is playing now. But circumstances forced us to play him as a No 9 because at certain times we didn’t have nines that could set themselves in,’ Mngqithi said.
‘Myself, in particular, and coach Rhulani have always believed that the best of Lebo will only come when he plays as a No 8. I strongly believe that if he plays as an eight, he stands a realistic chance to go to the national team.
‘It is the same way I believe that Rivaldo Coetzee, sooner than later, will be playing for the national team as a No 6,’ Mngqithi said. ‘We believe that they’ve got the attributes of the best central midfielders that you can think of.
‘Not many people know the influence of Rivaldo in our team, but we know. Lebohang, like you said, runs and works very hard for the team. The boy is good. He works very hard and is very intelligent. We believe that he’s got something big to offer.’
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