Soccer export Lefty has come a long way

MASERU — Bokang Mothoana has come a long way from being a student at the football school that is Likhopo.

With 36 international appearances for Likuena he has now been thrust into the position of being an “elder statesman” in Lesotho football.

Now 23, Mothoana’s football journey has taken him from Maseru to a land and a league that is a world away from Lesotho.

Along with the elite leagues of South Africa and Egypt, Tunisia is widely regarded as one of the top leagues on the African continent and is home to a wide collection of its brightest stars.

For Mothoana, well known as Lefty, who has now been in Tunisia since 2007, the past season was one of particular sweetness as he helped his side, Union Sportive Monastir, win Tunisia’s Ligue 2 and promotion back to the top-flight.

Back home in more familiar surroundings a relaxed Mothoana spoke to the Lesotho Times.

Lefty, a moniker he earned from his early days at Likhopo by virtue of having a magic-wand of a left-foot, has signed a season-long contract extension with US Monastir.

“I have signed a one-year deal so that if things don’t go well I shouldn’t find myself tied down to a long-term contract.

“On the other hand if things are going well and the team is happy with me then I can extend the contract,” he said.

This ended season, Lefty was one of the star performers at Monastir and captained the team in a 1-0 win over Olympique du Kef towards the end of the season.

He  missed only one match all season.

“It was a good season because we reached all our goals. The biggest target was to win promotion back to the premier league,” Lefty said.

It’s also a new era for Likuena and Lefty says “there is a new feeling”.

“The past is behind and it is time to look to the future”.

The national team’s first match will be a 2014 World Cup qualifier against Burundi in November.

“When the team is there it will be like I will be playing for the first time. When you look at the players that have been called up it motivates you.
The team has been chosen based on performance and there is a lot of competition for places,” Lefty said.

“It’s down to the coach and Lefa (Lesotho Football Association), when the coaches work and they have support — not to say that they didn’t have support in the past — then you see a difference.”

Leslie Notši’s side, which is made up mostly of the Under-20 side, is currently in training at the Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena “It doesn’t give me pressure. The players that are in the squad are players that I played with before. As a team we can work together and achieve our goals,” Lefty said.

“There is responsibility. The new players need to be shown how it is to be in the national team and when things are not going well there also has to been direction given by the senior players,” he added.

Lefty speaks with the maturity he said he has learnt from time in Tunisia.

Football has helped him in his life, he said.

“It has helped me a lot, I have learnt a lot. Football has taught me that when you listen and you work hard you can go far,” he said.

“It’s not the same as before. I see things in a different way.

“My lifestyle has changed a lot, the responsibility is huge and at home it has also changed.

“I’m now able to help my family, it’s not like how it was when I still playing in Lesotho.”

Lefty remains ambitious and wants to test himself in the “Promised Land” that is European football.

“Like every player I have the hope to play in Europe one day. If you work hard you never know. What I have planned is to work hard,” Lefty said.

But for now though there is only one target in his mind. “We have to look at the match against Burundi and then take it from there.

“That’s the most important thing at the moment. After that we will see,” said the left-footed left back.

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