MASERU — Former youth international Tsebang “Owen” Lebata shocked the football fraternity two seasons ago when he quit premier league football to play for his home team Liphakoe in the A Division.
Lebata is now back in the elite league after joining big spenders Bantu from Liphakoe during the off-season after the Mafeteng-based side paid M30 000 for his services.
The talented 19-year-old is seen by many as the replacement of Bantu’s last season top goal scorer, Litšepe Marabe, who is now based in South Africa with first division side United FC.
The initiative to acquire the Quthing-born striker is already bearing fruit as he netted a brace for Bantu in a 9-0 demolishing of Joy a fortnight ago.
Lebata scored another important goal at the weekend as Bantu registered a 1-0 over Linare to secure a second victory of the season.
Speaking to the Lesotho Times after his solitary goal helped Bantu maintain their unbeaten run of the season, Lebata told this paper that he is looking forward to the struggles of helping his new team challenge for honours.
“I accepted the offer to join Bantu so that I can help them be the best team in the country. My aim is to score as many goals as I can because they are very vital in winning matches,” Lebata said.
“I’m very happy with my performance so far, but I believe there is a big room for improvement”.
The striker shot to prominence during his days with Likhopo after he was selected into the national Under-20 team, Makoanyane XI.
He scored a treble as the Leslie Notši Makoanyane XI team hammered Mozambique 6-1 at Setsoto stadium during the 2011 African youth championship qualifiers.
He also had a brief spell at LCS before joining Likhopo.
“For me joining a team like Bantu is a dream come true and I’m here to help Bantu be a force to reckon with”, he said.
In preparation for a life after football, the striker has not quit his studies.
He is a student at the National University of Lesotho where he is studying towards a BSc degree in agriculture.
Bantu captain Tlali Maile, who is one of the experienced players in the Mafeteng based outfit, feels the future is very bright for the talented young forward.
“There is no doubt about his abilities. He is a good player and a player for the future,” Maile said.
The Bantu skipper said he has seen Lebata flourish from the youth teams and expects him to go far with his football career.
“Indeed, he and the other new players have successfully come into the team to fill the gap left by Marabe,” he said.
Maile told this paper that team work has been the pillar of their success and has urged the young forward to believe in team effort.