George Lebese pleads for patience from Sundowns fans
George Lebese has made an impassioned plea to Mamelodi Sundowns fans to be patient with him as he tries to establish himself in coach Pitso Mosimane’s starting XI.
The 28-year old Lebese has struggled to sparkle at Sundowns since his highly publicised move from Kaizer Chiefs in August when he became coach Mosimane’s second-biggest signing in the off-season after Oupa Manyisa‚ from Orlando Pirates.
Lebese‚ who was born in Mamelodi‚ has featured in seven league matches for the Brazilians with a return of just one goal and, largely due to his inconsistent performances, he is yet to win over Sundowns fans.
"Obviously I am not happy with the contributions that I have made so far to Mamelodi Sundowns‚" the forward said.
"As a player you want to be playing every match but I respect the decision of the coach because I know that the players who are playing ahead of me are doing well at the moment.
"I am asking the Sundowns fans to be patient with me because I am doing all I can to make them happy and contribute to the success of the team," Lebese said.
Asked why it has taken him time to settle down at his new club‚ Lebese pointed to a number of reasons.
"It is a combination of many factors. I am learning how to do things differently under a new coach‚ a new system and in a different environment, but things are looking up and I am hopeful that things will be better as the season progresses‚" the midfielder said.
To enhance his chances of forcing a place in the starting lineup in the second round of the campaign next year‚ Lebese said he plans to continue training during the Christmas break so that he stays fit.
"I am not expecting that we will have a long break anyway‚ but my plan is to continue working on my fitness right trough the Christmas break so that when we resume I am in good physical condition‚" he said.
Lebese was an unused substitute in Sundowns’ 1-0 win over Golden Arrows on Sunday when they returned to the top of the Premiership standings. He is likely to start on the bench again when the Brazilians take on Maritzburg United on Wednesday at Loftus Versfeld.
"At the moment‚ the team is doing very well and we want to end the season on a high and give our supporters something to enjoy this festive season.
"It is not going to be easy, but we will try to get all the nine points in our remaining three games of the year against Maritzburg, Bloemfontein Celtic and Cape Town City."
Sundowns captain Hlompho Kekana has defended the standard of the Premiership‚ which he says is more open in style of play than the Caf Champions League.
The PSL has had a sluggish start characterised by many goalless draws. Teams have been slow out of the blocks and the top of the league table makes for sorry reading.
Bafana Bafana defensive midfielder Kekana‚ though‚ has defended the standard of the league‚ saying the fact that no teams are guaranteed a win against each other is something to be proud of.
"I think if you look at the league‚ the only challenge we have is to score goals. But the brand of football that the teams are playing is very‚ very good‚" Kekana‚ captain of Downs’ 2016 Caf Champions League-winning team‚ said. "And‚ if you check‚ nobody is guaranteed a win. So it says a lot about our league… we are doing a good job.
"Looking at the Champions League‚ which is very competitive‚ in comparison our league is [also] very tough and difficult.
"In the Champions League everyone plays percentage football where all you have to do is apply your mind to games. Unlike here where you are forced to play.