FORMER top referee Rethusitsoe Lebaka has died.
Lebaka (53) died at his Ha-Abia home on Sunday after a short illness.
Lesotho referees committee coordinator, Mohau Sentšo, this week said Lebaka’s death has left a huge void in the soccer fraternity.
Lebaka, who started off as a central referee from 1998 to 2009, was now working as the senior technical instructor having passed through other designations like match assessor.
According to Sentšo, Lebaka suffered from a severe flu from last week which worsened during the weekend.
“He had been suffering from a severe flue for about a week and his family says his condition deteriorated on Saturday and he died the next day,” Sentšo said.
“He was one of the best referees’ instructors and has also been an international match assessor from 2018. This means we have lost a giant as the referees’ community and football in general.
“Many of the local referees were learning a lot from him therefore, we have lost a giant. We recently attended a COSAFA meeting where it was suggested that we start using local referees’ clips when instructing our referees rather than using clips from European countries and he was among the people who have already been earmarked to train referees using such clips. We are devasted.”
The Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) also released a statement on Lebaka’s death.
“It is with great sadness that LeFA announces the untimely death of its referees’ technical instructor and match assessor Rethusitsoe Lebaka after a short illness.
“Lebaka has a long football history in Lesotho and internationally, having served bodies such as COSAFA, CAF and FIFA from his time as a referee and in recent years as a match assessor as well as a referees’ instructor. His last continental assignment as a match assessor was the match between South Africa vs Sao Tome and Principe played at Moses Mabhida Stadium on November 13, 2020.
“He will be remembered for his passion for the beautiful game and developing young referees. Our prayers and thoughts are with his family as they deal with the painful loss,” LeFA said.
Lebaka’s daughter, Rethabile, said the family hasn’t decide on the dates of his burial and also clarified that his father was not taken by Covid-19 like many have been speculating.
“The family is yet to decide on the dates of his burial. And we also like to clarify this misconception that most people have, that he died because of Covid-19, there was no such confirmation,” Rethabile told Lesotho Times on Wednesday.