They are on another level
Soccer Laduma|4 December 2019
Before signing for Mamelodi Sundowns last season,Lyle Lakay knew that he would be used as a leftback and not in his preferred left wing position, something that he surprisingly did not have a problem with. In his first season with the club last term, he played a key role as they went onto win an unprecedented ninth Absa Premiership league title. This season has been a bit of a slow one for Lakay, who has been used mostly as a substitute, but there’s still a lot of football to be played both locally and on the continent, so he has time to fight for his place in the starting line-up. In this interview, the former Cape Town City and Bloemfontein Celtic player chats to Soccer Laduma’s Tshepang Mailwane about his time at the Tshwane giants so far, their chances of winning the CAF Champions League and why he believes they can close the gap on current Kaizer Chiefs, who have been in fine form since the start of the campaign.

Tshepang Mailwane: Lyle, let’s start withMamelodi Sundowns’ start to the season. Why do you guys often start slow?

Lyle Lakay: It’s nothing new to us. It’s not that we want to start slow. If you look at last season and the season before, we started slow, but usually around this time – or should I say December – we start picking up points and we get some momentum.

TM: Would you rather have games in hand or points in the bag?

LL: We have a game in hand, but you can’t always count the games in hand. We would like to close the gap and for us to do that we have to pick up points now. We’ve been in this situation before, so hopefully we can do it again where we turn things around. Like I said, December is usually the time where we turn things around.

TM: What would you say has worked for log leaders Kaizer Chiefs so far this season?

LL: You’re probably the fourth person who asks me this, ha, ha. But at the end of the day, it’s the questions we get asked, so we have to talk about it. I wouldn’t say they are lucky, but things have worked out for them. So, if things are going your way, you need to ride with it … why not? They have been doing well and you have to give them credit. The coach has turned things around for them, but we just want to focus on ourselves and do what we have to do in order to pick up points. We’ll give them credit and things have been going their way.

TM: Describe the feeling of winning your first league title last season, having missed out on winning it during your time at SuperSport United.

LL: I could have won it at Super Sport, but on the season they won it, I was out on loan and I was supposed to come back in the second half of the season. The coach of FC Cape Town did not want me to go back to SuperSport. It was that time when Daine Klate injured his collarbone, but I was not able to go back and get a league title medal. So, this was my first title and it was great. Not many people can say they have won a league title and, on top of that, it was my first season here. Some people go their whole careers without winning a league title, so I’m just grateful. At the end of the day, it gives you motivation and more hunger to say, ‘I want more!’

TM: Were you happy with the contribution you made to the title-winning season?

LL: In the first half of the season, I played a lot and, in the second half, Langerman played more, but I came on in most of the games. I can’t say I’m happy because obviously I want to improve every time I get a chance to play and give my best to the team. I was happy to win the league but, having said that, I wanted to contribute more. You always want to contribute more as a player.

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