It’s almost a year since Ernst Middendorp arrived at Kaizer Chiefs and converted one of the club’s attackers to a deep-lying midfield role – and the man in question says what was a daunting task at first is not such a ‘big thing’ anymore.
Lebogang Manyama was asked by the coach to use his experience and skill from a different role shortly after the German mentor took over from Giovanni Solinas in December last year, though the player suffered a long term injury soon after.
Now fully fit again, Manyama has grown in confidence next to either George Maluleka or veteran Willard Katsande.
And he was on Monday recalled to the national team by Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki to take the place of the injured Themba Zwane ahead of this week’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier away to Ghana.
“It’s not such a bid thing to move a bit lower down the field because the coach is the one that instructs us on how we must play,” Manyama said.
“It has helped me a lot in terms of how he has told me to play this new role. It’s not easy, but it has looked like I am natural in that position. But everyone has license to go forward. It’s about working together and knowing there are no limitations in terms of the role you play. It doesn’t mean if Willard Katsande, because he is more defensive-minded, has to stay back and me or George Maluleka go forward. No, if he gets the chance to go forward then he goes and we cover him. It also comes with a lot of experience between the three of us.”