Foot­ball fra­ter­nity mourns Bantu leg­end

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

The lo­cal foot­ball fra­ter­nity is mourn­ing the death of for­mer Bantu and na­tional team (Likuena) mid­fielder, Re­filoe Popo 16v Matšoara, who passed away on Fri­day last week.

Matšoara (44) was part of the Bantu squad which won the 1993 In­de­pen­dence Cup and also played in the then Africa Cup Win­ners’ Cup tour­na­ment un­der the tu­tor­ship of cur­rent Le­sotho Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion tech­ni­cal direc­tor, Lehlo­honolo Thotanyana.

The mid­fielder also donned the blue-and-white colours of Mat­lama in the early 1990s.

Bantu sec­re­tary gen­eral, Ad­vo­cate Jafta Thamae, this week told the Le­sotho Times their fa­mous son passed away af­ter a short ill­ness.

“It is with sor­row and sad­ness that we in­form the foot­ball fra­ter­nity of the pass­ing away of our leg­end, who served this team with all his heart,” Thamae said.

“Popo al­ways sup­ported the team even af­ter his play­ing days were over. He took the role of a leg­end at the club, sup­port­ing and mo­tiv­ing the cur­rent crop of play­ers to be proud of the team and to do their best each time they put on the team’s colours.”

Thamae said Matšoara was wear­ing his fa­mous num­ber 15 jer­sey when he passed away at Mafeteng hos­pi­tal on Fri­day night, which he said was con­fir­ma­tion of the for­mer mid­fielder’s love for Matšo Mate­bele.

For­mer Likuena and Ar­se­nal goal­keeper, Tha­bane Sutu, said he was very sad­dened by the death of Matšoara.

“I first saw him in 1988 when we (Ar­se­nal) played Bantu in Mafeteng. He gave the late Tha­bang Panyane a tor­rid time in that match, which ended one-all. I knew then that we had a gem in our midst,” said Sutu.

“He was a mem­ber of the golden gen­er­a­tion which in­cluded play­ers such as Le­fika Lekhotla and Paseka Mofele­hetsi.

He was a fan­tas­tic player, de­cep­tively quick, and tech­ni­cally gifted too. It’s re­ally sad that he had gone too soon.”

Matšoara’s for­mer team­mate at Bantu, Lehlo­honolo Seema, also said the foot­ball fra­ter­nity had been dealt a body blow by the for­mer mid­fielder’s death.

“He in­spired some of us to put a lot of ef­fort into the game and I will al­ways re­mem­ber his warm wel­come when I joined Bantu. He

Awas the main star in the team, but never showed me any ego. In­stead, he helped me grow and be­come a bet­ter player,” Seema said.

“He rep­re­sented Mafeteng dis­trict with dig­nity and I hope the club will win the In­de­pen­dence tro­phy this year to hon­our his mem­ory.

“We will al­ways re­mem­ber him for the role he played in the growth of Bantu as a brand and for that, we are grate­ful for hav­ing some­one of his stature. May his soul rest in peace.”

The Le­sotho Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (Lefa) also paid trib­ute to the late mid­fielder through its sec­re­tary gen­eral, Mokhosi Mo­hapi.

“On be­half of the pres­i­dent and the as­so­ci­a­tion’s ex­ec­u­tive, as well as the foot­ball fra­ter­nity at large, I wish to con­vey my heart­felt con­do­lences to the Matšoara fam­ily. He set the lo­cal foot­ball scene alight when it was at its peak,” Mo­hapi said.

“He was in­deed a marvel to watch and very hum­ble off the pitch. He was friendly to ev­ery­one, and will surely be missed.”

For­mer Bantu mid­fielder Popo Matšoara (CIR­CLED AND Inset) DIED AF­TER A short Ill­ness.

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