With news being announced that Lebogang Manyama will be joining Kaizer Chiefs in January subject to personal terms being agreed, it appears the versatile attack-minded midfielder and forward could be Siphiwe Tshabalala's future successor.
Like Tshabalala, Manyama can play in a variety of roles in going forward to attack the final third. Shabba is given free reign at times in how he roams, changes sides and attacks the opposition. It seems Manyama is capable of doing the same when you look at his numbers for Ajax Cape Town this season.
Evidence from our exclusive Soccer-Laduma stats shows that Manyama has played a variety of attacking roles for Ajax in the current campaign. He's played as a lone striker, part of a front two, on the left and right wing as well at number 10. Like Shabba, this indicates he's very comfortable in roaming and causing danger anywhere on the pitch.
With Shabba approaching his 30th birthday, it seems to make sense that 23-year-old Manyama seems a natural fit as his future successor. However, there are some parts of his game that seem to need work if he one day was to emulate 'Shabba'.
Our numbers show that Manyama has a relatively poor pass success rate compared to Tshabalala. The player completes 70.97% of his passes made while Shabba averages an excellent 84.10%. If you are going to adopt almost the playmaker type of role that Shabba does, those numbers must improve. The areas in the opposition's final third are very tight and giving the ball away too much could hurt Chiefs' attacking fluency.
On the plus side, Manyama produces plenty of end product for all his hustle and endeavour. In the 12 matches we studied the player this season, he has scored four goals and has two assists. In 2012/13 he also got six goals as well.
Manyama's good finishing perhaps comes down to his ability to hit the target regularly. He has a shooting accuracy rating of 43.24% compared to Shabba's 37.21%. Where he needs to improve is in getting into good positions in the opposition's final third like Shabba does.
Chiefs' number 14 makes 3.07 successful penalty area entries per game compared to Manyama's 1.91 entries. However, Chiefs generally boss more of the ball unlike Ajax and this means he ought to get more opportunity to do so.
In summary, Manyama has to improve his passing accuracy to really challenge Shabba for his position. Nonetheless, overall he does appear to have the versatility and attacking attributes to one day be Tshabalala's successor.