Le­bata’s long road d to re­cov­ery ery

…in­jured hit­man laments miss­ing out on Bantu and Likuena’s con­ti­nen­tal cam­paigns

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Moorosi Tsiane

In­jured Bantu striker, Tse­bang Le­bata, says he is on the road to re­cov­ery but does not know when he would kick the ball com­pet­i­tively again.

The free-scor­ing for­ward picked up a knee in­jury dur­ing the last match of the 2013/14 Vo­da­com Pre­mier League sea­son against joy FC, but had al­ready found the back of the net 14 times—a feat which earned him the Pre­mier League top goalscorer of the year award.

A scan on the in­jured knee pro­jected he would miss the en­tire 2014/15 foot­ball sea­son, which ends in May 2015, but Le­bata said he was not en­tirely sure when he would be 100 per­cent fit once again.

The Quthing-born tal­is­man told the Le­sotho Times: “It has been a trau­matic time for me, to just sit on the side­lines while my fel­low play­ers are out there on the park.

“Foot­ball has be­come part of my life, so it’s some­thing that I can’t live with­out. how­ever, there is noth­ing I can re­ally do to change the sit­u­a­tion, ex­cept to keep fo­cused on my re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion so that I am back on the pitch as soon as pos­si­ble.”

Le­bata, who joined Bantu from Liphakoe last sea­son, fur­ther said the in­jury could not have come at a worse time for him.

“I had a great time last sea­son, and the sup­port­ers were ob­vi­ously ex­pect­ing much more from me this time around, and so was I. so I am quite dis­ap­pointed to be out of ac­tion this sea­son but I will use this time to rest and come back much stronger when I even­tu­ally make a full re­cov­ery.

“I know it is not go­ing to be easy to re­dis­cover my goal-scor­ing form. But I have that be­lief in my abil­ity to over­come ad­ver­sity and my will­ing­ness to work hard is also go­ing to help me be­come an even bet­ter player than I was last sea­son,” he said.

Yet Le­bata is dis­ap­pointed that he would not be among the Bantu squad that takes part in the 2015 Con­fed­er­a­tion of African Foot­ball (Caf) Cham­pi­ons League tour­na­ment, which kicks off in Fe­bru­ary.

Bantu, who would be mak­ing their first ap­pear­ance in the com­pe­ti­tion, face As Man­gas­port of Gabon in the pre­lim­i­nary round of the con­ti­nen­tal show­case and Le­bata says he would have wanted to be part of the sa­fari.

“First of all, it was my dream to rep­re­sent my coun­try at se­nior level and also my club in the Cham­pi­ons League. If I had been lucky enough to have re­alised th­ese dreams, I would have en­hanced my chances of find­ing a club out­side the coun­try, and earn a living through my God-given tal­ent.

“Like any other player in our do­mes­tic league, I want to move to a more de­vel­oped and pro­fes­sional league out­side the coun­try and play­ing in the 2015 Africa Cup of na­tions (Af­con) would have helped me re­alise this dream.

“But be­cause of the in­jury, I could not be part of the na­tional team, Likuena, when they were tak­ing part in the Af­con qual­i­fiers and now I won’t fea­ture for Bantu in Fe­bru­ary when the team plays As Man­gas­port in the Caf Cham­pi­ons League.

“The in­jury, like I said, could not have come at a worse time for me be­cause I was at the peak of my pow­ers, and only the sky was the limit for me then.”

The for­mer na­tional un­der-17 and un­der-20 striker also said although he would not be able to de­fend his top scorer award, he was happy that Bantu at­tack­ing mid­fielder, Litšepe Marabe, was lead­ing the scor­ing charts with 10 goals go­ing to the cur­rent fes­tive sea­son break and end of the league’s first round.

“I scooped the award with 14 goals last sea­son, and Litšepe is al­ready lead­ing the charts with 10 goals, and there are still 13 more games to play be­fore the sea­son comes to a close. he is four goals ahead of sec­ond-placed Thabiso Brown, Phafa Tšosane and Themba Mza­mane, who are all on six. I al­ways en­cour­age him to work hard and score as many goals as he can.”

The left-footed striker fur­ther said he was cur­rently en­joy­ing the fes­tive sea­son with his fam­ily, and urged his fel­low play­ers to be re­spon­si­ble dur­ing this ex­citable time of the year.

“I am cur­rently do­ing noth­ing ex­cept chill­ing with my fam­ily here at home. It is that time of the year when a lot of crazy things hap­pen, and I would like to urge all the play­ers to be­have them­selves as they have be­come role-mod­els in their com­mu­ni­ties.”

FILE PIC: Bantu striker Tse­bang Le­bata (right) con­trols the ball as LDF de­fender Len­gana Nkhethoa (left) closes-in in a Vo­da­com Pre­mier League match played at Ratjo­mose Ground.

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