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Masualle dedicates award to teammates

Moorosi Tsiane

Bantu Football Club’s 2013/14 Player-of-the-Season, Thabo Masualle, has dedicated the accolade to his teammates for the “warm welcome” they accorded him when he joined them from Lioli at the beginning of the season.
Masualle was announced the club’s best player for the just-ended season during a colourful ceremony held at Mafeteng Golden Hotel last Saturday.

However, due to national team commitments, the 29-year-old central defender was not present to receive the award, which carried a monetary prize of M5 000.
In his first season with the Mafeteng-based Premiership side, Masualle helped the team win the Top 4 Independence Cup and league title — the latter which had eluded the team for 87 years.
Alongside Tlali Maile, the pair made a solid partnership which saw Bantu only lose one league match the entire season.

In an interview this week, Masualle lavished praise on his colleagues for helping him settle quickly at the club.
“I would like to dedicate this award to all my teammates for their warm welcome, which helped me quickly settle in the team when I arrived from Lioli.
“It was an honour to see that they had confidence in me that I could help the team. This played a big role in my performance throughout the season,” he said.

The Tšenola-born defender, however, said it was not easy beating teams such as Lioli and Matlama to the most prestigious prize in domestic football.
“We had a very tough season, considering we had to compete against teams such as Lioli who had very good players. But the spirit in our camp was one thing that kept us going. Everyone — from the management, coaches, the supporters and us the players — made sure the job was done and that the team succeeded.”
Masualle, who grew up supporting Matlama, also revealed why he decided to leave Lioli, who were the league title-holders at the time.
“I grew up supporting Matlama, but as you know, football is now a career, so I had to play for a team that could help me put food on the table.
“After Lioli won the league championship, the team bought too many national team material, and I thought maybe it was wise for me to leave. I love football, and I want to be able to play. But with such talent arriving at

Lioli, I thought if we all played for the same team, there would be no competition in the league. And of course, Bantu made a good offer that I could not refuse,” said Masualle.
The defender also said his mother played a big role in his move from Lioli to Bantu.
“My mother is from Mafeteng, and she was keen on seeing me joining her home-team. So when the offer came from Bantu, I decided to honour her by granting her that wish.”

Masualle further said the target was for Bantu to go beyond the first round of the 2015 African Champions League tournament.
“Local teams are always knocked out in the first round of the Champions League, and we are determined to ensure it doesn’t happen to us.
“We will not crash out at the first hurdle, and that is what we are also hoping to achieve.”

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