Dream start for Khutlang

Dream start for Khutlang

MASERU – Lesotho international Tumelo Khutlang made a dream start to his Premier Soccer League (PSL) career with Black Leopards by scoring on his debut for his new club against Chippa United last Saturday.
The mesmerising winger was one of the best players on the pitch and almost helped Leopards grab all three points when he struck in the 53rd minute only for Chippa to equalise in the dying moments of a thrilling 2-2 draw.

Despite the late heartbreak, it was a fine all-round showing by Khutlang in a match that was broadcast on South Africa’s national television broadcaster, the SABC, and the speedster has earned rave reviews for his display since.
One man who is not surprised by Khutlang’s bright start to his Black Leopards career is his former coach, Halemakale Mahlaha, who worked with the talented winger at Lioli from 2015 until last year.

Mahlaha expressed delight at Khutlang’s debut and said he expects the 22-year-old to thrive in South Africa given his enormous talent.
The Likhopo coach also lauded Khutlang’s mental strength.
“To be honest with you I was not surprised at all when I saw him play well,” Mahlaha told thepost yesterday.

“Khutlang is a very talented player and I was expecting that from him; I was expecting him to do well for any team he was going to play for because he is a good player and has a strong mentality.”
“I expect him to do even better,” Mahlaha added. “He just needs to work even harder.”

‘Lidoda Duvha’ signed Khutlang from Lioli last month but he had to wait to make his PSL debut until he received his international clearance.
He missed Leopards’ first two league games – a win over Polokwane City and a draw with Highlands Park.

Now that Khutlang is up and running, Mahlaha said he had no doubts the winger will go on to be one of Leopards’ brightest stars if he can continue to work hard and deliver whenever he is called upon. Khutlang lasted 85 minutes against Chippa United and is in line to start again when Leopards play their next PSL game, a mouth-watering tie against South African giants Orlando Pirates next Tuesday.

His display against Chippa came two weeks after Khutlang vowed to break into the Leopards first team and be a consistent performer.
By finally making his debut, he became the first Lesotho player to feature in South Africa’s elite league since former Orlando Pirates captain Lehlohonolo Seema retired in 2011.
“(Khutlang) is very talented and very dangerous when he is playing on the wing,” Mahlaha said.

“I am very happy for him and I think he will play a lot of games if he works hard; there is a lot of talent in him.”
“The only thing about him is that he is short-tempered and (Leopards coach Joel Masutha) just needs to find a way to work with him but I am really happy for him and I was not surprised with his performance when I was watching him,” he said.

Newly-promoted Leopards are not in action this weekend with the MTN Top 8 cup semi-finals taking centre stage.
It is a chance for Khutlang to continue building a rapport with his new teammates at training.
His Lesotho international teammate Luciano Matsoso will also be encouraged as he hopes to make his mark at Leopards.

Both players joined ‘Lidoda Duvha’ after impressive showings for Likuena at the COSAFA Cup which was played in June in the Limpopo province where Black Leopards are based.
After next Tuesday’s date with Orlando Pirates both Khutlang and Matsoso are expected in Lesotho for the FIFA international break.
Likuena will play Cape Verde at Setsoto Stadium on September 9 in the second game of their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign.

Luciah Phahla

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