MANY young people in Africa dream of becoming successful and wealthy soccer stars, but the sad reality is our continent does not offer many opportunities for such dreams to come true.
Aug. 16, 2021
3 min read
From football to cooking – Fariki the Cook
Fariki the Cook (right) with a cake he baked for the Royal Family in 2019
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But the life of Selikoe Mokhothu tells an inspiring story of a young man who beat all odds to achieve what he wants, but in another type of field.
Mokhothu chose to divert from the conventional paths by putting a pause to his professional soccer career to make a mark in the culinary world.
The annual employment report by the International Federation of Professional Footballers, a global soccer player union, reveals that African-based professional soccer stars often play under dire conditions, which force them to forsake their soccer dreams and seek other means of making a living.
Mokhothu who is a former Matlama, Sky Batallion FC and Linare defender, says his story should come as an eye opener to many young footballers in the country.
While playing for Matlama, the team sent him to a catering school after learning about his interest in the food industry. This shows that the whole intention was to prepare him for a life after football.
The 29-year-old player continued to play for Matlama while also pursuing his cooking studies.
When he left Tse-Putsoa and joined Sky Batallion and later Linare, he still received from his new teams with his cooking studies.
Hailing from Sekamaneng, Berea, Mokhothu is now a professional chef although he is still passionate about football.
"At the moment, I'm not contracted to any team as I am focusing all my energy on becoming a renowned chef. I was supposed to relocate to Mokhotlong and play there but the coronavirus restrictions on sports hit in again. Hence, I cannot rely on football alone," he says.
He was inspired to cook from an early age by his mother who is also a great cook.
"My mother used to force me to cook with her. In those days, it felt like punishment but later I learnt that she gave me a lifetime gift, teaching me how to cook. After the Matlama management realised my passion for cooking, it sent me for cooking lessons during my spare. I appreciated the initiative as a way of preparing me for life after football,” he says, expressing his gratitude for the gesture.
He is now a graduate of the Mosh School of Baking and catering, based in Sea-Point, Maseru.
It is worth mentioning also that the institution school hired him even before he completed his cooking studies.
"I know I'm now one of the best male chefs in the country. Next year I'm planning to bake as part of my exhibitions a giant size cake depicting the image of His Majesty King Letsie III on his birthday.
“I want that to be a souvenir to be remembered with for many years to come.
“The whole country will know about me and my work. At the moment I work from home. I want to inspire other players to pursue their other dreams as well," he notes.
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His message to fellow footballers is, "Take the opportunity you are given at the present time because tomorrow never guarantees anything."
Going by the name Fariki (pig) the Cook in the food industry, he says what differentiates him from others chefs is that he makes preparing food fun and adventurous, using more technical and focused techniques.
“I always watch and listening to food videos just to make my cooking have a different taste from the usual. My other skill includes baking cakes for parties and weddings and do full catering and decoration,” he explains.
For more information he can be found on his Facebook page titled Fariki the Cook.