In Saturday’s 3-0 MTN8 semi-final loss to Orlando Pirates, Lebogang Manyama had an ineffective game for Kaizer Chiefs as a right winger. Is Gavin Hunt wasting his most creative player by pushing him out wide?
Why is 'Kaka' being used wide?
In the 1-0 win against Chippa United in midweek and for this past weekend’s Soweto Derby, Manyama was selected to play on the right flank in Gavin Hunt’s 4-4-1-1 shape. The creative attacking midfielder has excelled in the past but lacks the pace and fitness for a wide role, given his age at 30 years old.
Why has the coach taken that decision?
The reason is partly due to the squad which does not contain a single natural wide player. Hunt has so far used Bernard Parker, Happy Mashiane, Khama Billiat and Nkosingiphile Ngcobo on the flanks as makeshift wingers but it is not their natural role.
Billiat is much more effective centrally and has therefore been given the number ten role behind Leonardo Castro, forcing Manyama to be used wide, where he can’t effect the game in the same way.
Where has Manyama played before?
When the former Konyaspor playmaker had his incredible 2016/17 season at Cape Town City, he scored 14 goals and won the Golden Boot from a central position just behind the main striker. On certain occasions, he even played as a false nine to allow then-coach Eric Tinkler to set up more defensively. Under former Amakhosi coach, Ernst Middendorp, he was either a number ten or played as a deeper central midfielder.
Ntseki could use Manyama as a stiker
When the Bafana Bafana squad was announced for recent friendlies against Namibia and Zambia, coach Molefi Ntseki said he selected Manyama as a striking option.
“In terms of how we want him [Manyama] to play, we’ve selected him as a striker. We will be working on him at training to prepare him for the position that we want him to play. He has played before as a striker but for the role that we are bringing him in is a different one. That’s why we have him as a striker even though people are saying he has done well as a midfielder for Chiefs,”
What Can Hunt do?
The Chiefs coach is in a tough spot as he needs someone to play out wide and sacrifice themselves in an unfamiliar role if he keeps playing the same formation. However, the coach could use a 3-4-2-1 shape instead, with wingbacks bombing forward and both Billiat and Manyama playing centrally in support of Castro. That could bring out the best in the playmaker.
Which position do you think Manyama should play? Let us know by commenting below!
View images of Pirates' thrashing of Chiefs below: