THE BREAKDOWN: Can Lebese Replace Dolly At Downs?
Can George Lebese Succeed At Mamelodi Sundowns?
With his future up in the air at Kaizer Chiefs, George Lebese could find himself at Mamelodi Sundowns next season and in the breakdown today, we take a look at whether the winger would be able to fill Keagan Dolly’s boots on the left-wing.
It was revealed in Soccer Laduma issue number 1028 that Sundowns could be one of the clubs that would pounce for Lebese’s signature, should he depart Naturena, having hinted at frustration due to his lack of playing time with his current employers.
The player would be an attractive option for the Chloorkop-based outfit as a Mamelodi-born star and if that weren’t reason enough, his ability on the wing could also serve as a solution to fill the void vacated by Dolly at the club, after the Montpellier wide man departed the club in January.
His departure resulted in a difficult season for Leonardo Castro, who did not play much due to injury and left Khama Billiat to carry the bulk of Sundowns’ attacking movements, even though Percy Tau was a standout star throughout the season.
Lebese would offer Sundowns another creative outlet, as he averaged 1.91 shot assists per 90 minutes last season. He didn’t cross the ball as much as his counterparts (2.3 open play crosses per 90 minutes), trailing Anthony Laffor, who was joint-third in the PSL with 5.1 open play crosses per 90 minutes.
While Kaizer Chiefs were a mid-table team for open play crosses per match (15.5 per match), their average was only slightly below Sundowns’ (15.8 per match). However, Lebese’s open play crossing accuracy (25%) was above the PSL average 21.2%, although the only Sundowns player to fall below average was Percy Tau (12.7%).
One concern for Sundowns, however, would be that Lebese appears to be reluctant to pull the trigger, having taken just 1.47 shots per 90 minutes and the only comparable player to have attempted less is Themba Zwane.
With that said, he did create more shots than he attempted with 0.77 shots per shot assist. The Chiefs man also made 9.4 final third passes per shot and therefore, even though he doesn’t offer the kind of goalscoring prowess that Billiat does, he seems to have a more creative focus, much like Dolly last season, who only scored four goals, but assisted six and could be considered the creative force behind the famed ‘CBD’.
In fact, Lebese’s 2016/17 goal tally matched Dolly’s in 2015/16, while he managed two assists, despite falling behind Edmore Chirambadare and William Twala in Chiefs’ pecking order for the left-wing position.
With this in mind, Lebese has a mountain to climb in terms of Dolly’s incredible reputation with Sundowns fans, having led them to a monumentally successful 2015/16 campaign, but as a Mamelodi born player, he has a foot in, sentimentally. On the pitch, it would appear that he has a lot to offer nonetheless.
Do you think Lebese can be a success if he were to sign for Sundowns?