Lebogang Manyama turned down a move to Kaizer Chiefs when they attempted to sign him from Ajax Cape Town five seasons ago, but he’s now at Naturena, and he couldn’t have arrived at a better time.
He came soon after the departure of Siphiwe Tshabalala to Turkey; a country which he couldn’t achieve his dreams even though he appeared to be at the pick of his career.
While the void left by Shabba could take years to fill, Chiefs knew exactly why they took time to wrap up the Manyama deal, and they are certainly going to benefit from it one way or the other.
Shabba was one of the highest paid players at Chiefs after spending almost 12 years at the club, and the club needed to ensure that the books were balanced before bringing in a big-name player like Manyama.
They also needed to make sure that Manyama would have a role to play in the team, and it is unlikely that they would have pursuit his signature if Shabba was still at the club.
Signing an experienced campaigner as good as Manyama doesn’t come cheap, and Chiefs knew this, but the attacker also did well to not rush his decision of finding a new club.
Chiefs may be struggling a bit at the moment, and they will need players such as Manyama, Khama Billiat and Leonardo Castro among others, to lift them up once the international break is over.
With Billiat having already won the hearts of Amakhosi fans, all eyes will now be on Manyama to see if he can cope with the pressure that comes with donning the gold and black jersey.
This move came at the perfect also because he is familiar with almost every big-name player in the current Chiefs team having played with the majority of them at Bafana Bafana.
However, the presence of Billiat and George Maluleka should make him feel at home and perform to the best of his ability throughout the season.
The trio played together at Ajax many years ago, and their performances caught the eye of many teams, fans and coaches in the country.
If Giovanni Solinas can reignite that old spark between Manyama, Billiat and Maluleka, then Chiefs would be one of the unstoppable teams in the league for many years to come, especially with Castro and Siphelele Ntshangase in the mix.
Manyama could have easily joined the Glamour Boys five seasons ago as a young boy, but in all honesty, he did well to snub them and test himself at a different club where there’s less pressure and less expectations.
His move to SuperSport United wasn’t really a success as he had to be loaned out to Mpumalanga Black Aces, before joining them permanently prior to the formation of Cape Town City in 2016.
A lot was expected from him when he joined Konyaspor, but things didn’t work out as he failed to cement his place in the Turkish team, but he is wiser and more experienced now, and those two factors could go a long way in ensuring that he becomes an instant hit at Chiefs and fill the void left by Tshabalala.