Why Manyisa and Lebese face big test of credentials against Pirates

George Lebese and Oupa Manyisa of Sundowns during the MTN 8 quarter final match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Maritzburg United at Lucas Moripe Stadium.
George Lebese and Oupa Manyisa of Sundowns during the MTN 8 quarter final match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Maritzburg United at Lucas Moripe Stadium.
Image: GALLO IMAGES

Former Mamelodi Sundowns and Bafana Bafana centre-back Matthew Booth says Oupa Manyisa and George Lebese haven't lived up to their high billings and have everything to prove if they start against Orlando Pirates on Wednesday.

The exciting midfield duo moved from Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs respectively in August but are yet to set the scene alight.

“It's been average from their perspective but I wouldn't be surprised if Lebese starts because of what transpired in the Chippa United game‚ regardless of the fact that it was a tactical issue‚" Booth said.

"However‚ such things can damage confidence in the long run.

"It's also a vital game for Oupa Manyisa for obvious reasons because looking at his performances‚ I'm not sure he deserves to start.

"But Pitso could move him into the line-up because of who they are playing against.

“I'm still waiting for Lebese to show what he has to offer because I know he has the talent but I'm waiting for him to shine.

"I hope he does because most new players that join Sundowns are often able to play with freedom because of the quality of the squad.

"They haven't replaced Keagan Dolly and with Mzikayise Mashaba out of the picture‚ it seemed like Lebese was a desperate buy.

"To be honest‚ he wasn't consistent for Kaizer Chiefs and those purchases didn't quite make sense at the time.

"The left-hand side hasn't been filled to its potential.”

The Pitso Mosimane-coached Pretoria side also go into the crucial league game on the back of three consecutive defeats and Pirates was a team they routinely embarrassed last season.

Pirates have looked a different team this season under Milutin Sredojević and could have vengeance on their minds.

Sundowns beat Pirates 6-0 and 2-0 in their league encounters and in both games‚ the Buccaneers were a distinct second best.

While Booth is aware of the fickle nature of Sundowns fans‚ allied with short memories that often cloud their judgement‚ the 40-year-old who was capped 28 times by the national team‚ said Mosimane shouldn't be treading on thin ice.

Booth noted that Sundowns have had minimal rest compared to the other teams in the league‚ but he added that Mosimane should not be put on notice.

It won't be the first time Mosimane finds himself under pressure as coach but a loss to Pirates‚ following defeats to AmaZulu‚ Chippa United and Kaizer Chiefs‚ may test the patience of the Yellow Faithful.

“What Pitso has done at the club has given him a lot of credit and he's got a lot of that in stock.

"He's done something that no other Sundowns coach has done.

"The most important thing he's done at the club is to take charge of the transfer market‚ but I feel that's something that's also tripped him up with the players that haven't delivered‚” Booth said.

“He's kept the team consistent but we're waiting to see if he's made the right decision with the players he's bought this season.”

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