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Chronicles of being a woman in football - Selepe

July 31, 2020 5 min read

5 min read

MASERU – Hailing from the dusty village of Tšenola in Maseru, the legendary Puseletso ‘Selepe’ Mokhosi has come to be one of the greatest female footballers the Mountain Kingdom has ever had. She was raised in the notorious area where being a gangster is considered to a cool lifestyle but Mokhosi opted to play for a not-so-organised boys’ team in her home village.

She was born in 1983 and is the third of the four children in her family two boys and two girls. Her journey in football started at a tender age of five. She began to play football in a boys’ team and first played in a girls’ club when she joined Tšenola FC in 1995. After she proved her prowess on the soccer field, several other women’s clubs started lining up for her.

She did not remain long with her maiden team as she joined the now defunct Arsenal Ladies in 1999 before she went on to play for the National University of Lesotho (NUL) team, Rovers Ladies from 2001. Two years down the line, Mokhosi joined Maseru Celtic Ladies.

From 1998 until 2006, Mokhosi did national service with the senior national team Mehalalitoe. Her most memorable  international matches include her debut in 1998 against Mozambique at the Setsoto Stadium. She also recalls her last international match with Mehalalitoe in Zambia at the COSAFA cup in 2006.

Her career in the national team lasted for a massive eight years. Mokhosi relished most of her international calls as an attacking midfielder. “In my playing days, there were no junior national teams, so I started playing for the senior team as the Under-20 team was only introduced in 2010 while the Under-17 is only coming together now,” she says.

In those days, Mokhosi recalls how they only played in the schools’ tournament known as Confederation of Schools Sports Associations in Southern Africa (COSSASA). With about 30 caps under her belt, she says there were not so many international games back then as compared to today. She was given the nickname “Selepe” meaning - The Axe, due to her rough style of play.

When she officially retired from competitive football, Mokhosi enrolled for a coaching course in 2007  and received a Level One coaching certificate from the Lesotho Football Association (LEFA).

She was later in 2010 appointed assistant coach of the Under-20 women national team. In that role, she did quite well and lasted for a couple of years until she was promoted to be the interim women senior national team assistant coach in 2011.

In the same year, she was appointed interim head coach of the same senior national team. Mokhosi has a collection of various football certificates. In January 2012, she attended a women coaching instructors’ course in Ethiopia where she acquired a certificate of attendance. In July 2012, she attended women coaching instructors’ course in Cameroon and received a certificate of attendance. He also obtained a CAF coaching B Licence in April 2014.

In November 2016, she attended the CAF 4th Refresher Coaching Course for Elite Women Instructors in Cameroon and was recognised as a CAF Coaches Instructor. She is so far the most highly qualified Mosotho female football coach. As assistant coach, she led Mehalalitoe to the 2011 COSAFA cup in Zimbabwe where the team performed 

exceptionally well and that convinced the Mozambique team to propose a friendly game after the COSAFA as part of their preparation to host the All Africa games. In 2013, Mokhosi was appointed the assistant coach of Mehalalitoe and the team played quite a number of international friendly games.

She was then promoted to the position of head coach in 2015 and served in that position until 2017.She is currently the assistant coach of Kick4Life Ladies and has been with the team for the past eight years. When she first joined the team in 2012, she was the head coach but was demoted to the position of assistant coach in 2019.

Mokhosi has made a mark and name for herself ever since she hung up her soccer boots. She was trained as the instructor of coaches. Through being appointed the CAF match commissioner for the period 2019–2021, Mokhosi is the current match commissioner of the local women football. One of her greatest achievements as a woman in a male dominated sport was being elected the chairperson of the National Women Football Committee in 2017. Empowering women in football administration is

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one of the main objectives she pursued during her time as the women football committee chairperson. Mokhosi is currently a member of the COSAFA Women Committee and is also part of the organising committee for COSAFA since 2017. She participated in the COSAFA women cup since 2017 as a match commissioner and also in the FIFA Olympic qualifiers in 2019. She attended the first Africa Women football symposium in Morocco in 2018.

Senate Letsie, the Mountain Kingdom superstar remains Mokhosi’s favourite player currently. The former Kick4Life Ladies forward rose to the peak of her career with the Old Europa side. Her brilliant displays earned her a college scholarship to study in the United States of America. She remains the favourite forward in the country, though Boitumelo Rabale has won many hearts over as a player and captain generally. During her times though, Mpolokeng Tjopa was her favourite then.

As a woman in the male dominated game, she also maintains that there are numerous challenges that women face as compared to their male counterparts. She explains the main challenges as societal, cultural and economic. “Our society still believes that it is inappropriate for a girl child to play football, they think it is boys’ only sport,” she adds. 

She also mentions the issue of financial aid, adding that when it comes to women football, financially; they struggle tremendously.

In terms of administration issues, she says women football is very different from the men’s. She says with men football, there is a clear technical team, but with girls, one person coaches and does administrative work simultaneously.

She adds that there are also major gender differences in how women football is run. As much as she is so welldecorated, she still maintains that players must make it their mission to see to it that they survive the life beyond their playing days.

“The most important thing is they must go to school and do well while at it. Our football has just started to be a career and the opportunities are very limited. So, when they are at least educated, they can easily find good paying jobs or be self-employed,” she says, commenting on the power of education to everybody and not just athletes. Mokhosi is not married and has no children of her own.

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