INDISCIPLINE has always been a problem among footballers and only a few have succeeded in conquering their demons in order to succeed and become role models to upcoming players.
A typical example is that of Matlama’s goalkeepers’ coach Shokhoe Matsoai who took over the position at the country’s most successful team just a year after hanging his gloves.
A footballing career is never really a long-term affair and for that reason it is very important for players to utilise the opportunities that come their way.
The Mazenod-born Matsoai made his debut for Tse Putsoa in 2005 after moving from his home team Swallows and hung his gloves in 2013 after close to a decade in the white and blue colours.
A year later, he was promoted to Likuena goalkeepers’ coach from mentoring the under-20 goal minders during the 2013 COSAFA under-20 Cup that was hosted by this country.
Local soccer fans will agree with me that Mazenod is one of those few villages that produce very good players who usually fail to realise their full potential largely because of disciplinary issues.
Viewed against this background, Matsoai’s is therefore a huge achievement for a footballer that was born and raised in Mazenod where drinking alcohol is more of a lifestyle than just a simple habit.
Due to lack of commitment and ill-discipline among players, Swallows were relegated to the A Division at the end of 2010/11 season where they remained for two seasons before being relegated further to the B division. They re-gained their A division status after being promoted last season.
But I think Matsoai has set an example for many and only if our players can emulate his strength and courage in fighting their demons they would certainly get something out of their God-given talent.
Just like the rest of us, Matsoai is not a saint and has his flaws. However, the admirable thing about him is that he did not let his scandals stand in the way of his success and his good work continues to bear fruits.
There were instances when he was hauled before the Lesotho Football Association disciplinary committee after arriving for the Likuena camp allegedly in the state of intoxication.
But the 33-year old appears to have matured and his commitment and dedication to the game as a mentor is evident in his work at both Matlama and Likuena.
Under his mentorship, Matlama now boast of two promising shot stoppers in Monaheng Ramalefane who is also with the national under-20 side and Thabiso Lichaba (22) who graduated from the under-20 team.
He is certainly one of the best goalkeeper coaches in the country and not surprisingly he retained his job with the national team even after the sacking of the man who appointed him, Seephephe Matete who was replaced by Moses Maliehe as caretaker coach.