Botsane wins Kick4Life’s Player of the Year gong

Botsane wins Kick4Life’s Player of the Year gong

MASERU -It’s been a long a journey but Kick4Life Football Club is happily 10 years old.
After taking baby steps, falling and getting up, Kick4Life have endured the rollercoaster ride of building a sustainable club and are still going.
Kick4Life held their 10-year birthday party last Friday at the club’s headquarters in Old Europa.
The celebrations coincided with the club’s annual awards where Tšeliso Botsane got the biggest cake.
The Lesotho Under-20 star was named Kick4Life’s Player of the Year, Young Player of the Year and also walked away with the top goal-scorer title.
It was a night of celebration and others received gifts as well.

Motlalepula Majoro, who oversaw the club’s promotion from the A-Division in 2014, was honoured with an appreciation award for his services to the club.
Majoro was succeeded in 2015 by current Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) technical director Leslie Notši under whom the club finished in the league’s top four for the first and only time in 2017.
Notši left the team in June last year and was replaced by Bob Mafoso who was his assistant coach. Notši was recognised as well.
This past 2018/19 season Kick4Life finished fifth in the Econet Premier League which despite missing out on a top four finish, cemented their place as one of Lesotho’s top sides.
Over the past four seasons Kick4Life have finished sixth, fourth, sixth and fifth in the elite league.
One of the main driving forces behind Kick4Life’s rapid and impressive success has been the club’s football director, Chris Bullock.
The Englishman moved to Lesotho six years ago and he said it feels like it was just yesterday when the club won promotion to the Premier League.
He called the club’s growth “immense”.
“We are celebrating the (past) season, just as we do every year. It is also special tonight because we are also celebrating 10 years of our football team and that’s why we have got so many old faces,” Bullock joked.

“Looking at last season first, it was a funny season with lot of ups, lot of downs. I think we had runs where we looked like we couldn’t lose games and we had runs where it looked like we couldn’t win games. We had runs where it looked like we couldn’t score for weeks but, all in all, we finished fifth which is actually our second highest (league) finish in the club’s history,” he added.
“I think it is an amazing achievement and for me it was one of the most challenging seasons since I have been here. So, to finish fifth is a big well-done to everybody in this room, especially to the technical team and the players; well done.”
Under Bullock, Kick4Life have become arguably the country’s best run club.
Every week during the season the club hosts its own press conference and are the only club in the country that does so. Kick4Life also have a women’s team that competes in the top-flight Women’s Super League.

The club’s stability allowed it to overcome the blow of losing Notši last June who was an inspirational figure at the club and transformed the team’s on-field fortunes.
Notši was wooed away by LEFA whose general secretary, Mokhosi Mohapi, was in attendance at last Friday’s festivities.
“Obviously, at the start of June (2018) Ntate Mohapi here was responsible for taking our coach off to LEFA which we weren’t expecting,” Bullock said.
“When you lose a coach it changes a lot of things, especially at the end of June when you have prepared your squad and are getting ready for preseason. You then need to make changes.
“We were fortunate we had already brought in the coach (Mafoso) to work alongside ntate Notši, a very capable coach that we already thought highly of. So, we were in a lucky position where we could just promote (Mafoso) to head coach and I think that made the transition a little bit smoother.

“But, as always, when you make changes and you have a new coach come in, it does take time. You need coaches to implement the way they want to play, to implement what he believes; we need to get the players to understand him. But, despite that, we still managed to have a fifth place finish and it is something I am very proud of,” he said.
Kick4Life aren’t satisfied with their progress, however. They have already started looking forward to the 2019/20 season and making changes for the new campaign.
The club announced that one of their longest-serving players and captain, Moruti Thamahane, will be leaving as will the experienced duo of Likano Teele and Olomo Desire.
Bullock thanked the players for their service to the club and honoured Thamahane with an appreciation award.

“As I said, it is not just about the last year we are celebrating, it is about the 10 years which incredibly I have been here for half that, and it feels like it has been five minutes,” Bullock said.
“It has been an incredible 10 years to see how much the club has grown. It started with the likes of KB (Kabelo Mosothoane), we wouldn’t be here without KB, the likes of ntate Dona (Motlalepula Majoro) who came in and took the club to the premier league. We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t get promotion.
“Maybe some of you think it’s a shame (we won promotion) because you don’t want us here; thanks to that I have had six fantastic years in Lesotho.”
“Thank you very much to those that were part of the club then and part of the club now. Thank you so much to my technical team led by coach Bob, his coaches and support staff for the job you did. All the players, thank you very much.”

Bullock added: “This time (of the year) is always the hardest in my job when you have players who will move on. Some players that have been with us for a long time will be moving on.
“Thank you very much to every single one of you who has given so much to this football club, whether it has been for two or three years or more than that. You will always be part of the Kick4Life family. Please stay in touch and good luck in your careers.”

Tlalane Phahla

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