We will have to fight hard – Manyama

Lebogang Manyama is looking at stretching Kaizer Chiefs’ victory run to three in a row. “We have to continue working as a team and if we do that, results will come.” The 28-year-old was rested for Tuesday’s game against Free State Stars, but is ready to face AmaZulu at FNB Stadium on Saturday.

The midfielder had an excellent debut against Cape Town City last weekend, helping Amakhosi to a 4-1 win.

He’s enjoying being at the Village. “I always dreamt about playing for Chiefs,” he explains. It was interesting that Manyama’s debut came against his former side, Cape Town City. “That was very emotional,” he admits, “but that’s football.”

Manyama was last season in Turkey, playing for Konyaspor. “Turkey is a very tough environment to play soccer. It’s very tactical and the teams are defensively very compact and difficult to break down. I learnt a lot though and have become a better player.”

Another lesson Manyama learnt was that “you always want to play 30 league games in one, but that’s not sustainable. It’s important to take it one game at the time, because the season is long.”

The midfielder also feels that he might have gone overseas a bit late. “I was already 26-year-old when going to Turkey, while most players who succeed in Europe leave at a much younger age. I should probably have gone earlier, but that’s how it is.”

Coach Giovanni Solinas tries to have the team playing attacking football with a lot of pressing high on the pitch. It’s still work in progress, although the matches against Cape Town City and Free State Stars showed that the team is starting to gel.

“We have to press as a team, but if one or two players don’t do what they are supposed to do, it becomes very difficult to get it right and the opponent might punish the gaps left open.

“It’s crucial to work as a team with everyone knowing the role he has to play – not only on the ball, but also off the ball. We are working hard to get this right.”

Chiefs beat Free State Stars 2-0 on the back of the win over Cape Town City.

About Saturday’s fixture against AmaZulu, Manyama comments: “They have a good coach in Cavin Johnson. They are a running team and are difficult to play against. We will have to fight to get the three points.”

Tickets are available for the game between Amakhosi and Usuthu at FNB Stadium on Saturday, 22 September (kick-off is at 18:00). They can be purchased from Computicket outlets, as well as Shoprite and Checkers stores from R40 per ticket.

No tickets will be sold at the FNB Stadium.