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What has happened to Mamelodi Sundowns’ Maboe

mamelodi sundowns latest news today

The versatile attacker was amongst the league’s best players last season but Lebohang Maboe has just one goal to his name so far this term.

After joining from Maritzburg United in a big-money transfer ahead of last season, Maboe took to life at Sundowns immediately. Whereas some players are left out in their early months at Chloorkop as they get to know the game model, Maboe was thrust straight into Pitso Mosimane’s starting XI.

 

Maboe started with a bang

mamelodi sundowns latest news today

He played the full match in 11 of the 17 league games after joining and started 15 of those clashes in a variety of positions

from playing on the right flank to being a number ten, second striker or false nine.

By May, he had scored nine goals and assisted another eight in all competitions

but that did not even begin to express his impact on Sundowns’ season.

As Jeremy Brockie, Toni Silva and Phakamani Mahlambi flattered to deceive as the side’s striking options

Mosimane moved Maboe to a false nine role, with Gaston Sirino and Themba Zwane (plus one) in support.

Maboe’s movement, link-play and pressing from the front was immense.

Although, Thembinkosi Lorch took the PSL Football of the Season award, he was a very worthy candidate too.

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All of that makes his poor season so far such a surprise.

Yes, he went to the Africa Cup of Nations with Bafana Bafana (even starting the first match against Cote d’Ivoire) and therefore had little off-season break.

mamelodi sundowns latest news today

However, Mosimane gave him several games off in late September, explaining that fatigue was affecting the attacker:

“I have given Lebo a rest. He needs to rest a little bit and calm down. The team can win without Lebo. There is no problem. He will come back. Let him get the energy, let him get the appetite. He has been playing for a team [Maritzburg] that play after seven days, so he has been going and going. He is a good player, was top goalscorer and won the championship. i think He must rest now.”

However, in the last two CAF Champions League matches, he has played just 38 minutes in total.

whilst over Sundowns’ last 10 PSL matches, he has only been on the pitch for 338 out of 900 minutes.

This has gone far beyond simply recharging the player’s batteries.

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mamelodi sundowns latest news today

With a possible suspension still hanging over Gaston Sirino for an assault charge brought against him, Maboe may still be a crucial figure in Sundowns’ season.

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However, as things stand, Mosimane prefers target man, Mauricio Affonso and even youngster Keletso Makgalwa at times

whilst Jose Ali Meza has also started more regularly this campaign and Sibusiso Vilakazi was used up front against Polokwane City when he came on.

“Last year I had a very heavy workload, hence I was so fatigued and out for a couple of weeks. This time the club has signed Affonso and a guy like Ali Meza is also playing as a striker,” Maboe told Sowetan.

“The competition this season will be tougher, which is good for the team. Due to the high number of games we play it’s good to have a strong strike department, so I am looking forward to our continental campaign and the rest of the domestic season.”

The result has been a Sundowns side that still wins most games, but is a lot less attractive on the eye than the incredible tight-space interplay attack with Maboe as its spearhead.

From one of the league’s best players and a Bafana starter to a Sundowns squad player and not even in the national squad is some fall for one of the country’s most multifunctional, intelligent players.

Let’s hope that things change in 2020.

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