Lebohang Maboe made his official debut for Mamelodi Sundowns in the Absa Premiership league opener against Kaizer Chiefs and says it still feels like a dream.
The 23-year-old midfielder who joined the Brazilians on a five-year contract right after the Tshwane giants finalised the deal for Percy Tau to sign for English side Brighton and Hove Albion says he would like to follow in the footsteps of players who used Sundowns’ success as a springboard to move abroad.
Before Tau went overseas, Keagan Dolly – after winning the 2016 Caf Champions League and the 2015/16 Absa Premiership with a record number of points, signed for Montpellier in the French league from Sundowns. Bongani Zungu of Amiens in France also went to Europe after he was refined and exposed to international football by Bafana BaStyle.
“I am really excited about this deal,” Maboe said. “It’s a dream come true to actually come and play for such a big team, not just in South Africa but in Africa. I am really humbled to be here. I had a chat with my dad and my business manager and we felt that Sundowns is the right team. I stand a good chance of getting a move to overseas from Sundowns. Sundowns plays in the Caf Champions League and that’s where all these overseas teams scouted the players who were here before me. I am looking to follow in their footsteps. Hopefully in the coming years I will get a deal to go overseas.”
Football runs in Maboe’s veins. His father Sidwell also played professionally and was on the books of numerous clubs in the country and won trophies like the BP Top Eight and Bob Save Super Bowl.
“He is a very supportive being,” Maboe describes his father. “He supports me in everything that I do. Even after a bad game he calls me to say that it was one of those bad days that everyone has so I shouldn’t keep my head down but I should keep on working hard in the training sessions during the week and look to better my performance in the weekend.”
Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane revealed that the club was interested in Maboe after the win over Kaizer Chiefs in the Shell Helix Ultra Cup when he said he wanted to sign a 23-year-old attacker who scores goals. The love is mutual.
“Sundowns plays a very attractive brand of football,” Maboe said. “It’s not like where I am from where it’s transition and counter-pressing. The coach is one of the most successful coaches in South Africa. I am looking forward to working with him. I am
looking forward to the challenge.”