THE year 2023 has been good for Boitumelo ‘Queen’ Rabale as far as women’s football is concerned on the African continent.
Dec. 15, 2023
6 min read
Boitumelo ‘Queen’ Rabale—what a player!
Mehalalitoe captain, Boitumelo 'Queen' Rabale
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The Lesotho-born player, captain, and Mamelodi Sundowns ladies star’s achievements are incomparable in the history of local football in general.
Rabale was last Saturday named the Hollywoodbets Super League Player of the Season in South Africa for the second time in a row, after winning the accolade for the first time last season.
The 2023 Hollywoodbets Super League Player of the Season accolade came after Rabale was named the Confederation of African Football's (CAF) Women’s Champions League Best Player last month.
This, after Rabale helped Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies win both the CAF Women’s Champions League and the Hollywoodbets Super League Player of the Season.
Football experts in the country praise Rabale for her achievements and for raising Lesotho’s flag high on the continent.
“I would like to congratulate Boitumelo on her achievements,” says former President of the Women’s Football Committee, Maleshoane Mokhathi.
“In spite of our aggressiveness on the pitch, our country is normally looked down on by the so-called super powers. We are the laughing stock of other people, but Rabale has brought back our dignity.”
Mokhathi further says: “She has shown hard work and determination to achieve her goals. She has shown that there are no barriers out there, but we create barriers that do not let us reach our goals. This should be a lesson to us as a country to be proud of the little that we have (infrastructure, level of coaching, etc.) and to use that to our advantage.”
Rabale, Mokhathi says, proved to the South Africans that Basotho are a nation to be reckoned with.
“She has shown South Africans that we are a nation to be reckoned with. She is showing the world that many more Basotho players need to be put out there and challenged to become professional football players.”
Mokhathi says Rabale opened the doors, adding that it is now up to the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) to explore collaborations that could be helpful in the development of football and talent in the country.
“Football is serious business, and with Rabale putting Lesotho on the international stage, we might attract new investors.”
Kick4Life women’s manager, Thato Sentje, also applauds Rabale for winning the double.
“I would like to congratulate Boitumelo for this great achievement and the inspiration,” says Sentje.
“Her achievements came as a result of international exposure, and I so wish our women’s football could get sponsors so that our football could be on the international calendar.”
Sentje, who is also the former Kick4Life women’s player, says Lesotho has the potential to produce many players like Rabale.
“We can produce other players like Boitumelo because there is a lot of talent in this country, and I like to encourage our young girls who love football to start at an early age like Boitumelo did.
“We are very proud of her, and she should keep up the hard and good work she is doing.”
Former Mehalalitoe goalkeepers’ coach, Tšepo Mathetha, says Rabale always exceeded their expectations.
“Rabale has exceeded our expectations on many occasions. She is a consistent player,” says Mathetha.
“We congratulate her for winning both the CAF Women’s Championships League Best Player accolade and the Hollywoodbets Super League Player of the Season Award.”
Lesotho Women's Super League chairman, Phosholi Phosholi, says Basotho must be proud of Rabale.
“We must be proud of her achievement because she is the only player in the history of our football who has achieved that much, winning both the Africa's Best Player (CAF Women’s Champions League Best Player) award and the Player of the Season award in the South African women’s top-tier league,” says Posholi.
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“You will remember that she played in the Lesotho Women’s Super League in the colours of Likhosatsana before, now LDF Ladies, before joining Bloemfontein Celtic Ladies, moving to America, and coming back to join Sundowns Ladies.”
Another former President of the Women’s Football Committee, Puseletso Mokhosi, says Rabale’s achievements came as a result of improvement and consistency.
“It is because of potential, improvement, and being consistent that our player has achieved all these,” she says.
“You see someone who is taking her career very seriously and who also enjoys what she is doing.”
Mokhosi, who is also the former Mehalalitoe coach, further notes: “The fact that she won the Best Player accolade at the CAF Women’s Champions League tells you that she is really a really great player at the club-level competition in Africa, and for her to win the Hollywoodbets Super League Player of the Season consecutively shows that she has kept her standard performance.
Another former Mehalalitoe coach, Lehloenya Nkhasi, says Rabale deserved all those achievements.
“It’s a great achievement for her as an individual. That shows she has been working very hard, and she deserves all the best,” he says.
“She has been waiting for a moment like this, and I am very happy for her.”
Nkhasi says talent alone is not enough for Rabale to become such a big player on the African continent.
“I can say talent alone does not help one in terms of positive results. So Queen has been working hard as well as being humble, listening, and disciplined.
“We are really blessed and very proud to have such a talent.”
Nkhasi, who is also the former LDF Ladies coach, says Rabale’s achievement is a good reflection of Lesotho football.
“This also reflects a lot in our football that, at least for the first time, we have a player who represents us as Lesotho. She represents our football.”
Nkhasi adds: “We have plenty of talent in Lesotho. There are several other players who can achieve as much as she did, but what matters is what the powers that be in our football development are doing to help nurture that talent.”
The women’s football expert reiterates that talent alone will not be enough for Lesotho to produce more players of Rabale’s calibre.
“Yes, talent is there, but it needs to be groomed, polished, and given opportunities so that it can blossom.”
Rabale, who hails from Qoaling, Maseru, is scheduled to arrive home for the Christmas holidays next Saturday.
Football fans in the country are expected to give her a hero’s welcome from Moshoeshoe II International Airport to her Qoaling residence upon her arrival.