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Veteran Ntobo wants to sign-off in style

Mikia Kalati

MASERU — Veteran LCS defender, Moitheri Ntobo, who is in the twilight of a glittering long career, wants to sign off his career in style. Ntobo told the Sunday Express that the upcoming Cosafa Cup tournament could provide one last chance for him to lift a major piece of silverware. Ntobo, who was a bit-part player for Manaheng Monyane Likuena’s side that reached the final of the regional tournament in 2000 feels the current team has the potential to contest with the best teams for the regional trophy that roars to life in Zambia on July 6.

Lesotho has been paired in Group B alongside Swaziland, Kenya, and Botswana while seeded countries such as South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Angola will only enter the tournament at the knock-out stages. “I think the current Likuena team has grown in leaps and bounds in recent months and has what it takes to contest for the regional tournament,” Ntobo said.
“We have a good mix of young and experienced quality players.” The 34-year-old defender said that there are a lot of similarities between the current team and the one that reached the final in 2000 under the mentorship of Monyane. “We have been together for a longer time now, we know the strengths and weaknesses of every player and we complement each other as a team,” said Ntobo.

He paid tribute to late former Arsenal coach, April “Styles” Phumo, for helping him realise his true potential as a player.
“It has been a long and hard journey playing football, luckily I worked with some of the best coaches who were very instrumental in shaping me to be a better player and person,” he said. “Ntate ‘Style’ was just not a coach. He was a father figure. “He gave us the life-skills and mentored us to be among the top players to have come out of this country,” he said.
He told this paper his big breakthrough came in 1995 when he was promoted to the star-studded Arsenal first team that had the best players in the country at the time.

Ntobo said joining Tunisian side US Monastir in 2007 was also a dream come true. “We were taken to Tunisia by former Likuena coach, Tony Hey, alongside the duo of Bokang Mothoana and Thulo Rachobe who after joining the team helped it reach the Tunisian Cup final in 2009,” he said. “It was my first time playing football outside the country. It came with a lot of challenges and I had to be a man to survive in a foreign country,” he said.

Ntobo told this paper that he feels he still has two more seasons of top flight football left in him before he calls it a day.
He has played premier league football for more than a decade since being promoted to the Arsenal first team in 1995.
“Nkau Lerotholi of Matlama and Basia Makepe of Joy have been doing a great job for their clubs and the national team and can become a good central defence partnership in the national team colours,” said Ntobo.

“Our country has also been blessed with good defenders. There are a lot that came before me and I grew up admiring the former Arsenal legendary duo of Khauta Monyobi and Thlokomelo Api,” he said. Ntobo also won the league title with LCS. He also captained the national side.

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