Rovers midfielder Tšeole Ranthimo does not have the arrogance commonly associated with footballers but put him onto a soccer pitch and the transformation is sudden and a pleasant surprise.
Ranthimo pulls the strings in the middle-of-the-park for the Dynamites who only suffered their first loss in five premier league matches last weekend when they went down 1-0 to Linare.
The 25-year-old joined the National University of Lesotho side at the beginning of this season from Lioli, where he had spent four seasons.
There is no doubt Ranthimo is having a time of his life in the red-and-white colours of the Dynamites, where he has featured in all the team’s five matches of the 2015/16 season.
“I am enjoying my stay here,” Ranthimo told the Sunday Express. “We are playing well despite last weekend’s loss against Linare. You also have to consider that this is the team’s first season in the premier league.”
Ranthimo believes joining Rovers was a masterstroke as he was not a regular at Lioli.
“Joining Rovers was a good move for me because I needed to play regularly which I wasn’t at Lioli. It feels like I am starting my career despite my time at Lioli. The environment here is good; I have settled fast because I know many of the players here so it wasn’t difficult for me to fit in,” Ranthimo said.
Born in Ha-Ramabanta in Maseru, Ranthimo however, grew up in Ha- Mabote and started his football career at Tšenola United in 1998. He left the lower league side three years later and joined Lioli’s development side, Hunters.
“I was at Hunters for five years and then took a two-year break from football due to some family issues I needed to deal with,” he said.
Ranthimo admits there is a huge difference between Lioli and Rovers in terms of the support base and administration.
“I don’t think I will ever forget Lioli; they were my second home. I learnt so much in the four years I spent at the club. I mean, there are so many experienced players at the club and the president is also very supportive of the players.
“A fact that we can’t ignore is Lioli are a very big team compared to Rovers so obviously there is always pressure when you play for them because of the huge support base. The fans are expecting results and if they are not coming, then the players are in for it. With Rovers, there is still pressure although it can’t be compared to Lioli. I think here the pressure we face is making sure we stay in the topflight league,” he said.
However, the midfield dynamo is full of praise for head-coach Pule Khojane.
“We have a very good coach in Pule; he is always encouraging us to work hard, rather than continue to point at our weaknesses. I believe this is one thing that will help us be a force to reckon with in future because he instills confidence in us.”
An only child, Ranthimo said his mother and late father always encouraged him to be a better person.
“Parents want their children to go to school and mine were no exception. My late father would encourage me to play football because he liked the sport although he did not play the game himself. But at the same time, my parents made sure that I attended school so I could have a bright future.”
Ranthimo, who is in the first year of a degree in social work, says it is not easy to balance sport and studies but remains committed to both.
“Firstly, we are not professional footballers but at the same time, we are expected to behave like one. That is very challenging because my social life has to be compromised. Again, there are my studies to take care of so trying to balance the two and my football career, is not easy at all but I try to make time for all of three.”
The midfielder’s next target, he added, is the national team.
“I’m happy for the game-time I am getting at Rovers and I am working hard to be in top form all the time because like any other footballer, I hope to make it into the national team. As a young boy, I dreamt of playing in our premier league and now that I have achieved that vision, I have to push harder to reach the other goals of wearing the national colours and also playing professionally outside the country,” said Ranthimo.
The left-footed linkman also spoke about the standard of local football and the direction the sport is taking.
“We are slowly getting there. For instance, the prize for winning the league has increased, we now have several knockout tournaments unlike in the past. Again, some clubs are now paying players which means a lot to us, footballers. I want to believe with the help of our government and business, all premier league teams will start to pay their players,” said Ranthimo.
“But because we are still at amateur level, education must be the priority because there should be life after football. Football is a short career in this country and one can’t just depend on it. Even for teams that pay players here, the money is not that much so my advice to our youngsters is they must focus on education to have a backup once their sporting days are over.”
Ranthimo also emphasised the importance of discipline for footballers.
“We are supposed to be role-models. There are people who look up to us and want to be like us so we can’t be seen misbehaving hence discipline is importance for every player both on and off the field.”
Name: Tšeole Ranthimo
Date of birth: 1 April 1990
Place of birth: Ha- Ramabanta
Position: midfielder/ winger
Previous teams: Tšenola United, Hunters, Maseru Naughty Boys, Lioli.
Current team: Rovers
Favourite meal: Papa le likahare
Favourite music: Gospel, hip-hop
Dream car: Range Rover Sport
Role Model: My late father.
Marital status: In a relationship
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