Is South Africa's Ligue 1-based, Lebo Mothiba underrated?
As far as South African football is concerned, Percy Tau has been inarguably the hottest name floating around for quite some time now. The former Mamelodi Sundowns stole the spotlight with his pacey style of play coupled with a solid eye for goal. The 24-year-old has been heralded for his exploits in helping Sundowns to numerous ABSA premiership titles as well as the much coveted CAF Champions League trophy. He eventually got rewarded with a move away to English Premier League side, Brighton & Hove Albion though currently on loan in Belgium. One name that slipped under the radar which has become impossible to ignore is, Lebogang Mothiba.
The 22-year-old forward was absolutely brilliant in South Africa’s recent AFCON qualifier at home against Seychelles. He scored a banger and assisted Percy Tau in a completely dominant 6-0 win by Bafana Bafana. This was just Lebo’s third appearance for the South African national side and scored his third goal for the country. He has been just as good since he moved to France in 2016 from the Senegalese Academy, Diambars. He had also played for Kempton Park and Mamelodi Sundowns in the early stages of his career. Mothiba is currently rocking the RC Strasbourg colors in the French Ligue 1 after being sold by Lille OSC in August 2018, in a deal reported to be €4 million. Lille desperately needed the funds to ease a tough financial situation hence the decision to sell the talented Mothiba to a rival, though the deal was sealed with a buy-back clause inserted into the sale.
Mothiba has been in redhot form since then, scoring 5 goals and assisting one other in 7 appearances for Strasbourg. His latest goal came over the course of the weekend against 2016/17 Ligue 1 champions, AS Monaco. Mothiba doubled Strasbourg’s lead in the second half by neatly lobbying the goalkeeper in an one on one situation to deny Thierry Henry’ and his troops, a debut managerial win. At only 22 years of age, with his ice-cold calmness in front of goal, agility and physique to back him up - I am reminded of South Africa’s living and playing scoring legend, Katlego “Killer” Mphela. Nicknamed killer for obvious reasons in front of goal.
With Tau, Mothiba, Bongani Zungu and many others, the future is looking quite alright for Bafana. As for Lebogang Mothiba, brace yourself to hear more of him in the time to come. This boy is really what I say he is. Take my word for it!