Ex-Orlando Pirates star Thulasizwe Mbuyane urges Mamelodi Sundowns' George Lebese to be strong
Posted: 30 October 2017 Time: 17:30
Former Orlando Pirates midfielder Thulasizwe Mbuyane has urged his homeboy George Lebese to keep his head up after his humbling experience on Sunday.
Mamelodi Sundowns winger Lebese came on as a substitute for the injured Thokozani Sekotlong in the 22nd minute of a Telkom Knockout last-16 tie against Chippa United. However, he was then replaced by Leonardo Castro in the 74th minute of the 1-0 loss at Sisa Dukashe Stadium.
Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane later showed sympathy for the ex-Kaizer Chiefs star, with Mbuyane likewise offering support.
“I was disappointed with what I saw, it was sad. But Pitso is a great coach, he might have had good reasons to do that," says Mbuyane, who hails from Mamelodi just like Lebese.
“George is a quality player, there is no doubt about him. I played with him in amateur football whilst still with Jusben. He is a hard worker. He left Chiefs because he wanted to play for his childhood team, grow as a player and play in the Champions League.
“Things like this happen in football. He will turn the corner. This is the time he needs the support of senior players like Hlompho Kekana to urge him to keep his head high.
The retired Mbuyane won the 'double treble' at Pirates but also experienced challenges early into a six-year stay at Mayfair, which ended in January 2014.
“I remember my first game for Pirates after coming from Free State Stars. It was a SAA game. I got a pass from Thembile Kanono but missed a one-on-one with the keeper. The supporters were hard on me after the game and saying I must go back where I came from.
“It was really tough in the first few games but things turned into my favour when I scored my first goal against Moroka Swallows at Ellis Park. The supporters started calling my name. My teammates started to believe in me. I gained confidence and since then I never looked back.”
He adds: “Both Oupa [Manyisa] and George need to be patient. It's their first season at Sundowns. Once George starts scoring everything will fall for him because he is such a quality player.”