THE Lesotho Premier League has been attracting a lot of players and coaches alike from the Free State Province in South Africa in recent years and with many using it as a stepping stone to greener pastures.
March 13, 2022
4 min read
Made in Free State, but loved in Lesotho
Free State-born Matlama striker, Makume ‘Liabiloe’ Theletsane
- Several other SA footballers have enjoyed lots of success playing in Lesotho
- The dribbling Theletsane has been a fan favourite since arriving at Tse Putsoa
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Makume ‘Liabiloe’ Theletsane admits that playing in Lesotho, can also work magic for him like it happened with his fellow countrymen such as James Madidilane, Morena Ramoreboli, Maloisane Ramasimong and Tsietsi Khooa, who have enjoyed a lot of career growth after working in the kingdom.
The 28-year-old is also making a name for himself in the Lesotho Premier league since joining Matlama in the 2018/19 season.
“My football journey started with Birds Juniors from Clocolan, but I later moved and joined Manyatseng United as I was attending school in Ladybrand. While there, I worked with Coach Thabo Tsutsulupa and later played for the likes of Sasolburg Juventus, Polokwane City in the ABC Motsepe league as well as African Warriors. I represented Free State Under-21 in the SAB team and won the tournament in 2009,” Theletsane says.
“Years later, someone gave me the contacts of Matlama’s Technical Director, Mosito “Mcara” Matela. I called him asking to attend trials at the club and he arranged with Thabile Secker, who was the head coach at the time.
“It was supposed to be a three-week trial, but after three days, the coach told me he was impressed with me and warned me not to go anywhere as they were going to sign me.”
The dribbling wizard, who has been a fan favourite since arriving at Tse Putsoa and winning the league title in his first year, says he was following the Lesotho Premier League.
His dream was to don the blue and colours of the Sea-Point-based outfit, one of the biggest teams in the country.
“I was following Lesotho football and I knew that Matlama is one of the big guns in the country. I wanted to be part of such a big brand with so much history,” the Free State born winger says.
“I must say, it was fulfilling to win the league in my first year with the club during the 2018/19 season. Luck was on my side that year because I played for the club for six months and we went all the way to win the championship. It was the best feeling ever.
“I think the club had assembled one of the best squads with the likes of Motebang Sera, Mabuti Potloane, Phafa Tšosane and Jane Thabantšo. I was quite lucky to be part of that squad and I learnt a lot from them as most of them were in the national team. I have become a better player because of them,” he says.
Matlama are currently at the summit of the Vodacom Premier, where they enjoy a 17-point advantage over second-placed Bantu and Makume says winning the championship this time around is going to be more special owing to how prolific he has been in front of goals.
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“It will be so special to win the league title again with the club because I’m not only scoring goals but also creating many chances for my teammates. I believe I’m in the list of players with most assists in the league this season,” the gifted winger says.
His biggest dream is to help Tse Putsoa qualify for the group stages of the CAF Champions League now that they have a chance of representing the country in the prestigious continental club competition.
“I want to see myself playing in the group stage of the CAF Champions League with Matlama. We did not do well when we last played in the competition, but I feel we have gathered a lot of experience since then.”
He is so in love with the Mountain Kingdom that he is prepared to forfeit his South Africa citizenship in order to represent Lesotho in international football.
“I must confess that every time the national team plays, I feel like I could also get a call up to be part of the squad and represent Basotho. I’m always tempted and would not waste any time if I get a call up,” he says.
Since coming to Lesotho during the 2018/19 season, Theletsane has been known for his silky skills on the ball and flamboyance. However, the winger has considerably changed his style this season and became a prolific goal-scorer.
“Special thanks go to Coach Mohale Mokoena (‘Sasco’). Since his return to the club to be part of the technical team, he challenged me to create 2-3 goal scoring opportunities in every training session and he also encouraged me to shoot and make attempts to score goals,” the player says.
“That’s exactly what I have been doing since then and it has worked quite well, hence you see so many goals from me this season.
“I always look up to my teammate Thabantšo, who contributes several goals in each season, having played most of his football as a winger. His commitment and hard work are second to none. I believe that my other strength is creating opportunities for my teammates as I have the skills and pace to take on defenders,” he concludes.