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Defender transformed into first class goalie, Tšepo Mathetha

Likuena squad of 2004

March 6, 2021 6 min read

6 min read

FROM being just an ordinary defender, he was transformed into one of the best goalkeepers the country produced in the 1990’s after he was converted by Lesotho’s international goal minder Thabane Sutu during his spell at the now defunct Arsenal FC.

Upon joining Arsenal FC development as a Form C learner at Sefika High School in 1993, it took Tšepo Mathetha only a year to adapt to the new role of goalkeeping and that saw him getting a call-up to the national Under-17 side, Bahlabane in 1994.

The 1994 national Under-17 squad under the tutelage of Coach Mafole Sematlane competed in COSAFA Under-17 Cup in Pretoria, South Africa but lost in group stages. 

The newly transformed Mathetha was promoted to the Arsenal senior team in 1996.

Mathetha was part of the Likuena squad which competed at the COSAFA Castle Cup first round tie against the Zebras of Botswana on February 29, 2004 in Maseru, where the match ended in a goalless draw and Zebras went on to win encounter by 11-10 on penalties.

He was also in the newly built youthful Likuena squad which coach Ribbo Ramakau formed after Lesotho dismantled the squad that reached the finals of the 2000 COSAFA Castle Cup.  

Born on 26, December 1982, Tšepo Mathetha is the son of the late Emily ’Manchechela Mathetha of Qoqolosing, Leribe. He is the third born in the family of five children, four boys and a girl.

He obtained his Standard 7 Certificate at Qoaling Primary School in 1992, before he went to Sefika High School where he obtained his Junior Certificate (JC) in 1995 and his Cambridge Overseas School Certificate (COSC) in 1999.

He then enrolled at the University of South Africa (UNISA) in 2003 and obtained a Certificate in Criminology. He also acquired a Certificate in Practical Psychology from the Rand Afrikaans University (RAU) – now the University of Johannesburg in 2004 before obtaining a Certificate in Student Counselling from the same institution in 2005.

In 2007, he graduated with a Diploma in Tourism Management from the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) before obtaining a B Tech Degree in Tourism Management from the same institution in 2008.

He started playing football at the age of 10 as a defender at Qoaling Flowers FC under the mentorship of the late Makamane Hlohlo and left the team as a Standard 7 learner to join rivals Qoaling Highlanders. But he spent a short time with the side before he went to Sefika High School where he also joined the school team.

He was invited into the school team by fellow schoolmates including Lehlohonolo Matlosa and Mphahamele Matlosa who were already established members of the squad.

In 1996, he was promoted to the national Under-20 side Makoanyane XI where he played alongside Lehlohonolo Seema and others under the mentorship of Seephephe Mochine Matete and travelled with the team to Botswana to compete in the COSAFA Under 20 cup.

Before he did his Form D, he left school to go and work at the Clouf Mine now Sibanye Mine in South Africa.

He played professional football at the mine in order to collect money to return to school because his mother could no longer not afford his fees.

In 1998, he returned to Lesotho and completed his Form D and Form E the following year.

He rejoined his old club Arsenal and the team loaned him to Molefe Liverpool FC of Ha Seoli where he remained for two years before he joined Lesotho Prisons Services (LPS) FC now LCS FC after he was engaged fulltime as a member of the Lesotho Correctional Service in 2000.

From that time, he received numerous call-ups to do national service for the senior national team Likuena under Coach Ribbo Ramakau.

He was among the trusted players who formed Likuena squad during the reign of foreign coach Tony Hey in 2004. He recalls working alongside Lekunutu Tšoeunyane and Esaya Mosala in the goalkeeping department in those days.

In 2005, Mathetha resigned from LCS and left Lesotho to pursue his studies and football career at the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) alongside Selimo Thabane with whom he used to play for The Gunners.

Thabane also played for the VUT senior team and was also the university’s Student Representative Council (SRC) president.

At VUT, Mathetha obtained a Diploma in Tourism Management in 2007 and later a B Tech Degree in Tourism Management in 2008.

Both Mathetha and Thabane helped the VUT team to be promoted to the upper division – the Vodacom League from ABC Motsepe League in December 2005.

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That saw Mathetha being selected into the South African Universities foreigners’ squad alongside other Lesotho-born players such as Thabane, Libetsa Mpesela, Tankiso Makhele, Mahlomola Motake, and Molebatsi Mothobi who was the captain of the team.

 In 2013, Mathetha obtained a CAF C License Coaching Certificate. He also holds FIFA Goalkeeper Coaching Level 1 and 2 Certificates both obtained in 2018.

He further studied Sports Administration and obtained Sport Administration Level 1 and 2 Certificates from the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC).  

Upon retiring from competitive football, he worked as goalkeeper coach for several teams in various league divisions locally.

He worked for FC Likhopo before joining Bantu FC in 2013.He then worked for Lijabatho FC, Limkokwing University FC, Botho University FC and the national Men Under-17 team Bahlabane with Halemakale Mahlaha and Shalane Lehohla.  

He also coached the senior National women football team Mehalalitoe in 2017 alongside Monaheng Montšo and Elizabeth Yelimala. 

He now works with Coach Lehloenya Nkhasi as a goalkeeper coach for the Lesotho Defense Force (LDF) Ladies team.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

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