Manyama not surprised by CT City’s fast start

You are currently viewing Manyama not surprised by CT City’s fast start
Lebogang Manyama
  • Post published:November 23, 2016

Cape Town City skipper Lebogang Manyama is certainly riding the crest of the wave with his return to peak form as the PSL newcomers sit atop of the Premiership table.

The 26-year-old, leading from the front, has taken the captaincy in his stride – his winning goal in Tuesday night’s 3-2 win over Maritzburg United took the Cape side to the top of the standings (for at least 24 hours). His goals tally this season now stands at five in 10 Absa Premiership games.

Manyama first came to the fore at Ajax Cape Town, coming close to helping the Urban Warriors win the league in 2011 and establishing himself as one of the PSL’s most exciting and promising young attacking midfielders.

A subsequent move followed to SuperSport United, and then Black Aces, but he never really got fully going at either club, largely because of an unfortunate run of injuries.

Indeed, Manyama was still carrying an injury from his time at Aces when he arrived at the newly formed Cape Town City, the club which took over the Mpumalanga side’s franchise after a buyout.

But he recovered in time for the start of the season, was handed the captain’s armband by Eric Tinkler, and has become progressively more influential as the season has progressed – five goals in his last eight matches are proof of that.

You said in an interview before the season that survival was the first priority, are you surprised at all at City’s current position?

Lebogang Manyama: No, I’m not surprised, when I look at how we are training, and how we are playing in our matches. We are able to grind results out, like we did against Chippa last weekend. We knew we wouldn’t have much possession, that we must use the little possession we get, and we did that. There is a strong mentality in our team and that has helped us have a good start to the season; but of course there is a long way to go still, so we won’t get ahead of ourselves.

What is the energy and vibe like, playing in a new city, for an ambitious new club which has attracted quite a bit of hype?

Lebogang Manyama: It’s been great, very exciting. I think it helped that 14 of us made the move from Black Aces, where we had a very good season last season. And then the squad have been added to with experienced players like Lehlohonolo Majoro, Robyn Johannes, Tsepo Gumede, the players from Australia and Europe. That experience helped to settle the team down.

It’s helped to have made such a good start. As a new ambitious team, all the other clubs want to beat us, to bring us down to earth. So we have had to earn respect, we’ve had to send out a statement of our intent to our competitors.

There have been games we should have taken more points from, so we’re not there yet – we’re keeping our feet on the ground, our priority remains to get to 30 points as soon as possible and we’ll take things from there.

Eric Tinkler spoke glowingly in an interview about your captaincy credentials – mentioning that you are a hard worker, a vocal player not scared to tell your teammates when you’re not happy about something. Your thoughts on being the leader?

Lebogang Manyama: I knew that I was one of the more senior players in the squad and I’ve been in this team for a while if you take the time at Aces into account. It’s a big honour for me, because there are several other players in the team that are leaders and could have been chosen.

Working with Eric Tinkler gets the best out of me. He’s a great guy and I’m learning a lot from him – he played at the highest level, has coached at big teams, so we have a very good working relationship.

The pace and purpose of yourself, Bongolethu Jayiya and Aubrey Ngoma seem a big part of City’s game-plan?

Lebogang Manyama: Yes, the three of us, Judas Moseamedi as well, have played together for a few seasons, so we understand each other well and know how to combine with each other. It’s good that we have chipped in with goals. Majoro has also started to score – we’re confident in his abilities and that he’ll also be finding the net regularly through the season.

Credit: PSL.CO.ZA