Thetsane shines at Kick4Life awards

Thetsane shines at Kick4Life awards

Luciah Phahla

Maseru

Goalkeeper Sele Thetsane was the biggest winner at a jovial Kick4Life awards dinner last Friday as he bagged the club’s player of the season honour and a M1 500 cash prize.

Thetsane, who came through Kick4Life’s development ranks, gave an emotional acceptance speech saying it was a struggle to break into the first team.

And, having conceded 26 goals this past season, Thetsane said he can still do better.

“It has been a tough journey for me to be where I am. I struggled for game time and I have always wanted a chance to prove myself that I can do better. It’s not about me, it’s teamwork, team effort and I would like thank our goalkeeper coach and the other goalkeepers here at Kick4Life,” Thetsane said when accepting his prize.

Speaking to thepost afterwards, Thetsane added that his dream is to play abroad and represent Lesotho. He said he is going to work hard next season to give national interim coach Moses Maliehe a headache when selecting goalkeepers for Likuena.

“My dream is to play outside Lesotho and to represent Lesotho. I am aiming to work hard next season. Last season I was focused only on getting game-time and, when I did get it, my personal goal was to keep seven consecutive clean-sheets. But, I only managed to keep four and the goalkeeper coach really helped me,” Thetsane smiled.

“It was not difficult to adjust to the change of coaches because coach Leslie Notši loves hard-workers and he gave most players a chance to play,” he added.

Kick4Life were promoted to the Vodacom Premier League in 2014 under the guidance of Motlalepula Majoro and managed to avoid relegation in their debut top-flight campaign.

The Old Europa club built on that achievement and this year defied all the odds to finish sixth in the premiership under the tutelage of former Lesotho coach Notši who replaced Majoro last November.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Notši said he found the Kick4Life job offer a challenging proposition when he received it. He dedicated the team’s ensuing success to the quality of the club’s leadership, from management to the players. Notši said this helped overcome the tragic death of Kick4Life player Kabelo Mohapi last December.

“Nobody knew when I started six months ago that we would be here today celebrating. I found the Kick4Life offer very challenging but I accepted it and the reception from everyone was perfect,” Notši said.

He added: “We had a very drastic thing losing one of our best players (Mohapi), the players had to adjust and we mapped the way forward.”

“The willingness to learn and self-belief to work hard was there from the players and I think we have one of the best (ball possession) numbers in the league. Good quality leadership in the team, from the director of football to the technical team, also made the difference,” he said.

Notši said he is anticipating a difficult 2016/17 season and urged his players to take care of themselves during the off-season break.

“It is going to be very tough in the upcoming season. All teams are preparing and everybody will be looking at us. Football is not an on-field thing only, look after yourself at home and be role models,” he said to the players.

The club’s director of football Chris Bullock added the team’s success this season can be demonstrated by the number of national team call-ups Kick4Life received.

“Change is always difficult. The previous coach (Motlalepula Majoro) took us to the premier league and kept us here. He did really a good job. I think we have about four or five players that are with the (national) Under-20 and two with the national team Likuena. I think we have the best young players in the country and it proves the progress at Kick4Kife.  We have two players that have been selected for scholarship in the (United States); Mako Makoanyane, he is with the Under-20, and Lesia Thetsane,” Bullock said.

Other winners on the night included Morapeli Lesoetsa who won the Kick4Life’s top goalscorer award after netting seven goals this season. The young player of the season went to Mako Makoanyane who comes from the club’s development ranks and the most improved player of the season was won by Tšeliso Ramafikeng. The awards each went along with a M500 prize.

Lesia Thetsane was voted by his peers as the players’ player of the season and took home M1 000. There was also a special award presented to the club’s supporter of the year which went to Lineo Letlai.

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