ONE of Lesotho’s most decorated midfielders of his generation, Ralekoti Mokhahlane has announced his retirement from the beautiful game to bring down the curtain on a very colourful football career.
June 10, 2022
3 min read
Ralekoti Mokhahlane calls it a day
Ralekoti Mokhahlane (right) in Likuena colours
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He came through the ranks at FC Likhopo as a young player and went on to enjoy success playing for the late Bishop Molatoli-owned side, as they won back-to-back premier league titles in the 2004/05 and 2005/06 seasons.
The 35-year-old won more league titles with LCS after he left Likhopo for greener pastures at the Correctional Service side, where he has also been working as a correctional officer.
“Indeed, my playing days are over, but I would love to remain involved in the game as a coach, working to develop young players,” Mokhahlane says.
“I think I had a very good career, and I enjoyed every moment of it though it was not very easy as we all know that football in Lesotho hasn’t been professionalised yet, which meant that I had to have other means to put food on the table for my family.”
The diminutive midfielder, who retires while playing for Lijabatho of Morija, states that representing his country and playing against some of the best players are what he will cherish for the rest of his life.
“Playing for my country against some of the best teams and players at the pinnacle of my career was truly fulfilling. It gave us a chance to weigh ourselves as a country and as an individual player to see how far we are in our football,” he adds.
‘West’, as Mokhahlane was popularly called by his fans, reminisced about helping Makoanyane XI qualify for the Africa Youth Championship in 2005, which was the first time a Lesotho team secured qualification to a CAF tournament.
“That for me was a very special group of players; it was a turning point for all of us in that team. It was for the very first time in our history as Lesotho and it gave us hope that we could become very successful footballers.
“We never looked back from there and a lot of us were able to graduate into the senior team, where we also managed to help our country compete against good teams.
“So, looking back, I think I had a decent career both at club level and the national teams, which I can be proud of.
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“I learnt a lot as a player, especially playing in international tournaments - the COSAFA Cup from the junior level and the different CAF competitions at club level. I enjoyed it a lot because they helped me to become a better player,” he says.
Mokhahlane was also a key member of the Leslie Notsi’s Likuena side that reached the semi-final of the COSAFA Cup in Zambia in 2013, where he was among outstanding individuals walking away with two man of the match awards.
The midfielder will also be remembered for scoring a scorcher for Likuena against the highly ranked Algeria, who had to dig deep to win the match 2-1 at Setsoto Stadium.