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Aug. 20, 2021

TEBOHO JAFETA

5 min read

Meticulous striker, Lekoane ‘Computer’ Lekoane

Meticulous striker, Lekoane ‘Computer’ Lekoane

Former Likuena and Kaizer Chiefs' striker, Lekoane 'Computer' Lekoane

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ONE of the most gifted footballers and prolific forwards to come out of the Mountain Kingdom is Lekoane Lekoane, better known as “Computer” in football circles.

He enjoyed a lot of success with Arsenal and Majantja on the home front before he went on to make a mark in South Africa, with Soweto giants, Kaizer Chiefs and later Dynamos.

Lekoane was a formidable Likuena striker who caused severe nightmares for defenders during his playing days.

He was featured in the Likuena’s squad that made history by beating Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions 2-0 in 1994, notwithstanding that the Cameroonians had just competed at the 1994 World Cup.

Lekoane won the Lesotho Premier League title with Majantja FC in 1995 and the prestigious Top 4 Cup with the same team later that year.

As a coach, he assisted Majantja to gain promotion to the Premier League in 2017 and he left when the team was in second position on the log the following season.

He holds a CAF C License coaching certificate which he obtained from the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) in 2017.

Born on August 15, 1968, Lekoane Lekoane is the son of the late Makoanyane and ‘’Malerutla Lekoane of Levi’s Nek, in Leribe.

He did his primary education at Emmanuel Primary School in Levi’s Nek and Koroti Primary in Hlotse, where he completed in 1984.

He began his football career with his home team, Mathebe FC which played in the A Division under the mentorship of Philip Letsoeba.

At the age of 18, he was the youngest player in the squad of 1986. Around that time, former Arsenal coach, the late Styles Phumo spotted him and invited him to join the now defunct Gunners who were at the time playing in the A Division.

He became part of the dominant Arsenal in 1986 and remained with the Maseru-based outfit until they were promoted to the Premier League in 1988.

Lekoane was later spotted by Vaal Reefs Mine scouts while playing for the Gunners in 1988 and he joined the South African Mine’s football team later that year.

A former colleague at Vaal Reefs Mine, Cosmos Mahlomaholo invited him to join Majantja and he struck a deal with the club’s then president, Sebatana Russell.

Russell offered him a monthly salary of M1 500 in order to leave his job at the mine where he earned R600 per month.

Before he joined the Mohale’s Hoek-based outfit on a fulltime basis in 1988, he used to come to Lesotho with Mahlomaholo to play for Majantja on weekends.

He remained with the team that was playing in the Premier League until 1995 when he left.

Majantja were at the time mentored by player cum coach, the late Zero Motšetše until 1992 when Bomba Matete took over.

Lekoane was scouted during a friendly match against Kaiser Chiefs at Setsoto stadium in 1995 by Screamer Chabalala, a Leribe-born South African who was at the time a Chiefs’ scout.  

Both Chiefs and Majantja had won league trophies that year in their respective countries and Sebatana had organised the friendly game between the two.

Chiefs won by 5-1 and Lekoane scored Majantja’s lone goal.

“I thereafter went for Chiefs trials in South Africa and I passed after a one-day morning session. Later that afternoon when I returned to the ground, for second session, I was told that I had made it through. They told me to return to Lesotho to fetch my clearance certificate before signing a contract with the club,” he recalls.

“Playing for Chiefs was no easy for me, some of my teammates did not like me and they made life real difficult from the first day I joined the club. But I told myself I was there to play football and shine.”

His maiden game at Chiefs was against Swallows and his side won. He spent two seasons at Chiefs before he left in 1997 to join Dynamos who were at the time playing in the Second League, Mvela.

Dynamos were promoted to the Premier League the following year and Lekoane left the club in 1999.  

The forbidding striker was forced to hang his soccer boots in 2000 due to a leg injury he sustained after he was shot on the leg in his home by armed burglars.

He returned to his old team Majantja in 2017, to start his coaching career. He was assisted by Retšelisitsoe Mapepe.

He remained with the team until 2018 when the club released the duo and engaged a youthful South Africa coach, Kabelo Malapane.

People who helped groom him into a coach include his first mentor, Letsoeba, his former teammates at Mathebe FC such as Mokete Pama and Tseki Rathebe along with a close relative of his, Kopano Mabaleha.

As a young player, Lekoane looked up to Chiefs’ Fani Madida and Doctor Khumalo. In the coaching department, he idolised Letsoeba, the late Phumo, Matete and Jeff Butler.

He considered Thato Mohale, Matete Matete and Litšitso Khali as his serious rivals at national team level while Pollen Ndlanya, Aaron Lebunda, the late Fortune Kolomba and Mika Rapatsa as his fierce competitors during his playing days at Chiefs.

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His former teammate at Likuena, Teele Ntšonyana describes him as one of the most exceptionally talented strikers he has ever played with.

“He was a gifted left footed forward, also very creative with the ball. I remember when we defeated Cameroon 2-0 in 1994 in Maseru after they returned from the World Cup. He scored alongside the late Lefika Lekhotla and went on to score an incredible goal during the return match away in Cameroon in 4-1 loss and was given a standing ovation. The national army even saluted him,” Ntšonyana recalls.

Lekoane’s worst moment was in 1995 during the Top 4 Cup match against LDF FC when the game had to be temporarily stopped because the players had started a fight and the fans also joined the scuffle.

Police disperse the fracas with a teargas. The game resumed and Majantja won 2-0 to lift the trophy.

His best moment was a 2-0 victory over Moroka Swallows in the Bobsave Cup at the Joburg stadium in 1996 when he scored Chiefs’ winning goals alongside Ndlanya.

He also regards the 1995 Amakhosi’s 2-0 victory over Cape Town Spurs as his best moment.

He scored the first goal while Ndlanya netted the winning goal for Amakhosi.

Members of the Lesotho Defence Force were at the stadium, watching that game.

Lekoane is married to ’Mareitumetse Lekoane and the couple is blessed with a girl.

Besides football, he also enjoys music and athletics.

 

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