Lebata’s long road d to recovery ery
…injured hitman laments missing out on Bantu and Likuena’s continental campaigns
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.