Sidwell Maboe glows with pride as son Lebohang lines up for Sundowns against Al Ahly

Lebohang Maboe says his father‚ former Orlando Pirates star Sidwell Maboe‚ is “really happy seeing me doing well”.

Maboe senior – who‚ like his son‚ was a forward with an eye for goal‚ and also turned out for Bloemfontein Celtic and SuperSport United in the 1990s – should be proud.

His son has done so well in his first season at Mamelodi Sundowns‚ where Lebohang Maboe junior transferred from Maritzburg United at the start of the season‚ that his name is being mentioned as a candidate for Premier Soccer League (PSL) Player of the Season.

On Saturday afternoon Maboe will line up against Africa’s most successful football club‚ the fabled Egyptian giants Al Ahly‚ in the first leg of Downs’ 2018-19 Caf Champions League semifinal at Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville (kickoff 3pm).

He said the games in the Champions League‚ such as in North Africa – where Downs’ top scorer in all competitions started against 2017 champions Wydad Casablanca in Rabat‚ Morocco in a 1-0 defeat in the group stage – have been his highlights of his first season in Pretoria.

“I feel like I’ve had a pretty decent season in my first year at a new club‚ joining new players‚ and knowing no-one here‚” the 24-year-old Bafana Bafana international said.

“It’s been a very good season for me. I’m enjoying it.

“The highlights were things like going and playing against Wydad. Playing those games – the Caf games. Getting a different feeling from what you get at home.

“Everything is different there. The buildings are different. Getting to travel all these long hours. Spending a day on the road‚ sometimes. Those are the highlights of my first season.”

Maboe said daily conversations with dad Sidwell help keep him humble.

“He’s really happy seeing me doing well. We talk almost every day. He tells me what I’ve done right and what I shouldn’t do.

“He plays a very important role in my life‚ too‚ helping keep me grounded.”

The gifted attacker said being mentioned for PSL Player of the Season is “an overwhelming feeling”.

“It’s my first season joining a new club‚ and‚ you know‚ having to work like I have been working on and off the field‚ I really can’t put it much into words‚ but it’s overwhelming.”

Downs will hope to establish a healthy lead in Atteridgeville to take to the second leg in Alexandria next Saturday. That will be no easy feat against a team with the pedigree and organisational qualities of Cairo’s Red Devils.

Maboe said not conceding a goal at home‚ which count double for Ahly in the case of the scores in the tie finishing level‚ was also crucial.

“It’s very important. Because going there [to Egypt] is a totally different ball game‚” he said.

“There are a lot of external factors that come into play playing away. So it’s very important to win at home and not concede.”

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