Modest Lebusa is ready to make his mark in Bafana Bafana team
MOSA Lebusa doesn’t agree with the high praise his Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane showered on him. Mosimane described Lebusa as one of the best left-centre-backs in the country.
The humble Lebusa brushed off the praise. Mosimane has constantly said that Lebusa is one of the best in the country and should return to Bafana Bafana.
That eventually happened when Molefi Ntseki named him in the squad to take on Mali on Sunday in the Nelson Mandela Challenge at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.
“Everyone is entitled to their opinion,” Lebusa said at FNB Stadium yesterday.
“I wouldn’t say that I am the best. I just work hard. I just try to be the best that I can be. I try to work hard for the team.”
If Lebusa is not the best in the country, who does the Sundowns’ defender believe fits that profile?
“I don’t know, but it’s definitely not me,” Lebusa said.
“As a player it depends on how you take such praise. Sometimes when you hear such comments, it gets to your head and you start to be sluggish. With me, I always look at it in a different way because I always tell myself that I am not the best. I am just trying to work hard and be the better player than I was in the previous match.”
Lebusa’s game has gone to another level since relocating from Ajax Cape Town to join the Brazilians. He hasn’t just been changed from a left-back to a centre-back, but he has also become one of the best defenders in the country.
“It has helped me a lot, playing with experienced guys, guys who are playing Champions League year-in, year-out at Mamelodi Sundowns. They help me a lot. I think that it has been good so far,” Lebusa said.
Lebusa, however, has a huge fight in his hands if he is to break up the central defensive pairing of Buhle Mkhwanazi and Thulani Hlatshwayo.
The pair has a telepathic understanding that was honed at club level as they are also Bidvest Wits’ preferred central defence pairing.
Lebusa worked with Hlatshwayo at Ajax, which gives him an edge should Ntseki be tempted to partner the pair against Mali in a match that Bafana will play with one eye on the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers against Ghana and Sudan next month.
This match is part of the preparations for the Afcon qualifiers where a ticket to Cameroon in 2021 is up for grabs. Ntseki’s mandate is to qualify for that tournament and the World Cup in Qatar.
Lebusa isn’t entirely new to the set-up, he toured North and South America with former Bafana coach Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba.
“It’s still the same Mosa, it’s just that now I play as a centre-back,” Lebusa said comparing that Mosa and the current one.
“I am more mature now. I play for one of the big teams in South Africa.”