Operation Save Lebata


 Bantu striker finally goes under the knife to rescue football career

Mikia Kalati

Bantu striker Tsebang ‘Owen’ Lebata is heading for Bloemfontein to undergo surgery on his troublesome knee.

The striker suffered the career-threatening injury two matches before the end of last season and had been battling to raise the M85 000 needed for the operation.

But according to Bantu secretary general Jafta Thamae, Lebata would finally have the operation after the funds were raised through a joint effort between the club and the supporters.

“We had to put the surgery on hold as the team was also preparing for the African Champions League tournament, which is quite demanding funding-wise,” Thamae told the Lesotho Times on Monday.

“However, the good news is Lebata will be going for the surgery anytime now. It’s a delicate operation that is going to decide if he will ever play football again.”

Although Thamae refused to say how much was needed for the operation, the Lesotho Times has since learnt from club sources that it would cost M85 000.

Meanwhile, Thamae has paid tribute to the club’s supporters for teaming up with the management to raise the funds.

“This is a very serious operation and if all goes well, the player could be back on the field within two months of the surgery.

“Our supporters have made us very proud as management, as they also helped to raise this money. They understood it was also their responsibility to help the striker during this difficult time.”

On his part, Lebata (25) told the Lesotho Times he was increasingly getting frustrated due to Bantu’s failure to help him with the operation.

“The uncertainty has been very painful and frustrating. I had started to believe it was all over for me but now that the operation is on, there is renewed hope I could be back on the field again.

“I would like to thank everyone who has made this possible, and hopefully, the operation is going to be a success,” said Lebata, who was the premier league’s top scorer last season with 13 goals and also took the Players’ Player of the Year award.

The striker, who was in his first season with Bantu after signing for the Mafeteng-based outfit from his home-team, Liphakoe, also played for Likhopo and LCS.

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