New kid on the block     

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Roboama Koloti had a dream debut playing top flight football for the very first time and scoring a massive 13 goals to help Sundawana
Roboama Koloti had a dream debut playing top flight football for the very first time and scoring a massive 13 goals to help Sundawana

Teen-striker Roboama Koloti had a dream premier league debut for Sundawana, smashing home 13 goals which helped his team finish the 2015/16 season a respectable fourth on the 14-team table.

Reports suggest powerhouses such as Bantu, Lioli and Matlama are already sniffing around in an attempt to lure the 17-year-old from Sundawana. In this wide-ranging interview, Koloti tells Lesotho Times (LT) sports reporter, Mikia Kalati, how he rose from the humble beginnings of Piting Mapoteng in Berea district to national prominence and what the football fraternity should expect from him going forward.

LT: What was it like growing up in Mapoteng? Did you always like football and if so, who did you idolize as a youngster?

Koloti: Football has always been my first love growing up in Piting Mapoteng in the district of Berea, but I never idolized any players because I knew very little about the big clubs and their players.

LT: So how did your move to Sundawana come about?

Koloti: I was playing for Butha-Buthe Warriors last year in the A Division and the team happened to be sponsored by Ntate Thato ‘Sundawana’ Nkone. So I can say he liked what he saw in me and signed me for his side, Sundawana, at the start of the 2015/16 premier league season.

LT: Your exploits last season, which was your first campaign in the premier league, have made you a very popular figure and we hear a number of the big teams are already after your signature?

Koloti: I’m happy playing for Sundawana. I feel I have a greater chance of developing here, but that does not mean I don’t have dreams to go for greener pastures and test myself at a bigger club.

I want to grow as a player and at some stage, I will have to leave and take new challenges which is part of being a football player.

LT: But ow did you end up scoring so many goals in your first season of topflight football? You were the second-highest scorer in the premier behind Motebang Sera of Matlama, who scored 14.

Koloti: It is all about hard work and the desire to succeed. I worked hard at training and when the goals started coming, there was no going back. But it was not easy at the start of the season as I was new to this level of football.

LT: You also announced your arrival on the big stage with a goal for the national under-20 team in the 1-0 win over Mozambique this past Sunday. What did it feel like to score this very important goal which took Lesotho to the last qualifier of the 2017 Africa under-20 Cup of Nations, where you will be playing South Africa?

Koloti: I am very motivated to show what I can offer. I want to write my own history because I believe I have the talent and I just had to keep my feet on the ground and work hard.

But it was a good moment for me as a young player because representing your country is an honour and scoring a goal makes it even more special. However, the bigger goal is to beat South Africa in the next round of the qualifiers and help our team qualify for the Zambia tournament next year.

LT: Going back to the league, you scored against the likes of Bantu and eventual league title winners, Lioli..

Koloti: Well, I realized that scoring against these teams helps raise your profile as a player and that is what I wanted.

Once that was achieved, there was more motivation to score each time we played the big guns. That’s why I scored a brace against Bantu in the second round of the season, after scoring once when we beat them 1-0 in the first round.

I also scored two goals against Lioli in the LNIG Top8 tournament as they beat us 6-3 in the second leg while in the first leg I scored that only goal as they beat us 4-1. But it was really a good feeling to score against the two big teams.

LT: What will be your targets going into the new season?

Koloti: I’m not satisfied at all having come that close to winning the top goalscorer award. I will work hard to finally win that award next season. What I can tell you is I will work even harder to be a success story. I also want to contribute to my team and help them challenge for honours going forward.

LT: Do you dream of playing in bigger leagues outside the country at some point in your career?

Koloti: Of-course. That’s one of my goals as I continue to grow as a footballer. Like I said, hard work is key to everything and age is still on my side so I don’t see why I cannot dream big and end up playing in bigger leagues.

LT: The football community was calling for your inclusion in the national team, Likuena, which is in Namibia for the Cosafa tournament. This call was based on what you did for Sundawana last season. But are you ready for that stage as yet? Are you ready for the senior team?

Koloti: It is a challenge I would be willing to take head on because I always work hard to improve and I am hungry to succeed. But I just have to wait for my time to come because I’m currently in the under-20 team and like I said, I am still very young. My time to play at the highest stage of them all will come one day. I am a very patient person, so like I said, my time will come.

LT: Which coaches have played a big role in your career?

Koloti: My coach at Sundawana, Bob Mafoso, has been very helpful. He was instrumental in my having a successful season. Moses Maliehe has also been very supportive and I believe I can get even better with their support going forward.

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