Manyama proves that he’s PSL’s darling

THE REAL MAKOYA

This week an anonymous caller phoned in to vent during a radio talk show after seeing his “beloved Mamelodi Sundowns” suffer a snub at this year’s PSL Awards. He attributed the slight to jealousy, after the team won the African Champions League and CAF Super Cup.

He probably had a good point, considering the team’s continental success.

The awards would certainly have been a travesty of justice had Lebogang Manyama not been the one to walk off with the Player of the Season and Players’ Player of the Season awards at the PSL end-of-year function in Sandton this week.

“I think the reason I had such an unforgettable and successful season was because I was selfless,” said the Cape Town City talisman, who also walked away with the Golden Boot award for his 13 strikes, earning our nod as The Real Makoya.

“I cannot deny that when Cape Town City purchased the status of Mpumalanga Black Aces, I refused to go there. We were only 14 players and I thought: What was I going to do there? But my manager Maimane Phiri convinced me to give it a try.

“I arrived in Cape Town low on confidence and suffered injuries. But the club employed a competent physical trainer [Elsa Storm]. They told me I could lead the team and pushed me to my limits. I started enjoying myself.

“Coach [Eric] Tinkler also came from Orlando Pirates with all his disappointments. It was important that collectively when we arrived in a new environment we came with our hearts and opened up to each other about our collective new challenge. We pledged to earn the respect of the public.

“Being selfless helped my game in so many ways. It entailed being much more responsible and I abandoned selfish tendencies. If a team-mate was in a better position, I did not hesitate to lay on for him to score, because in the end the whole team enjoyed the success.”

Manyama expressed his gratitude to recently departed City coach Tinkler, who has joined SuperSport United, but believes he can become an even better player under new appointment Benni McCarthy.

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