Called a ‘traitor’: George Lebese opens up on leaving Chiefs for Sundowns

29 November 2019 - 11:24 By Ofentse Ratsie
George Lebese of Mamelodi Sundowns during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 Mamelodi Sundowns Sponsorships Announcement at Hyundai Dealership in Johannesburg, South Africa on 13 October 2017.
George Lebese of Mamelodi Sundowns during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 Mamelodi Sundowns Sponsorships Announcement at Hyundai Dealership in Johannesburg, South Africa on 13 October 2017.
Image: ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Former Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs attacking midfielder George Lebese has finally opened up about his departure from Naturena to Chloorkop almost two-and-a-half years ago‚ saying he succumbed to “temptations”.

This comes three months after Lebese subsequently left Absa Premiership champions Sundowns in September‚ a move that has left Lebese out of club and a contract.

Skilful winger Lebese moved to Sundowns from Chiefs in August 2017 with much fanfare‚ but failed to make an impact at Chloorkop despite being a key player at Chiefs‚ including in their two doubles victories in three years in 2012-13 and 2014-15.

In an interview with Robert Marawa on Marawa TV on Thursday night‚ the 30-year-old Mamelodi-born forward admitted his miscalculated move to Sundowns was influenced by monetary issues.

“It was a very difficult stage where I had to make a decision and quick. [There were] a lot of temptations and I wouldn’t blame it on anyone‚ and say [it was about] not getting proper advice‚” he said.

“I’d say it was what I wanted then. I was still happy at Chiefs but there’s lot of other factors that came in and I was tempted to make that decision.

“Like I tell people‚ two things had to happen – either I move on and probably regret or I stay and regret not going. I say better an ‘oops’ than a ‘what if’ and you learn – it’s life‚ it’s football.”

Asked whether his move to Chloorkop was influenced mainly by an offer that he could not refuse‚ Lebese replied: “Ja. Basically.”

Episode 5 - This Thursday Night Live on Marawa TV, Robert is hosting Ernst Middendorp, where Ernst is reflecting on yet another exceptional month's performance at Kaizer Chiefs.While Ernst appreciates the recognition bestowed on him by the League and the fans, this is the man whose yet to bask in his limelight. In this frank and robust conversation, Ernst remains focused on discipline, winning 1 match at a time and making sure that he keeps the players and the technical team on their top notch condition. Later, Robert gets into an up close and personal conversation George Lebese. From a young, vibrant, major leaguer, popping young star to man whose become isolated, distant yet hopeful. George's resilience and determination is endearing and sets a fine example for many

“It had more to do with that than [any issues to do with] Kaizer Chiefs‚” he said.

“So sitting there I was thinking‚ ‘It’s too good to be true‚ and all these promises’. So‚ ja‚ I made a move and it was an ‘oops’.”

Lebese said joining Sundown from Chiefs came with lot of expectations‚ and that the pressure he felt came from supporters of both teams.

“There was lot of pressure obviously coming from Chiefs‚ especially with all the supporters who were disappointed. I got lot of messages‚ some by a lot of fans calling me traitor‚” he said.

“It was unexpected that I would take such a decision. All the supporters were hoping that I would stay there [at Chiefs] for long and become the next legend at the team‚ just having only played for one team.

“But that moment came and things changed‚ a decision was made. I wouldn't say I regret it but if it had to come again then I would probably take a better decision this time.”

Lebese made just 14 league and cup appearances in his one-and-a-half seasons at Sundowns‚ and played seven league matches in a six-month loan spell at SuperSport United.


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