sports

April 26, 2022

BUSISIWE TJEKOA

4 min read

Unstoppable Potloane teases retirement

Unstoppable Potloane teases retirement

Attacking midfileder, Mabuti Potloane doing national service for Likuena

Story highlights

  • Playing for Likuena was an honour for the
  • Player made his name at home team Linare

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HIS love for football began when he was just a little boy kicking a ball made out of plastics. He has played for Lesotho’s national team, Likuena for almost 10 years. At 36, Mabuti Potloane, also known as Budeza needs no introduction.

Budeza grew up in Amerika, Hlotse, where he spent his entire childhood. He attended primary school at Joy to the World, before proceeding to Hlotse High School and later went to the Lerotholi Polytechnic in Maseru.

At the age of 12, Budeza joined Linare development team where he remained until he was 18.

“I believe I could have joined the development team sooner but distance was an obstacle,” he told Maseru Metro in an interview.

“It was just impossible for a young boy to travel all the way from Amerika to Lisemeng on his own. But once I got wiser and knew how to cross the road on my own, I was unstoppable.”

Every day after school, he would then walk to Lisemeng for practice.

“Those were the happiest days of my life,” he said.

Growing up, Budeza said he looked up to two of his homies, Moses Ramafole and Thulo Leboela and he turned to be like them and more.

He then spread his wings and joined the Lerotholi Polytechnic football club where he played two seasons from 2005 to 2007 until he bailed out on them and joined his home team Linare.  

His said his journey became smooth because of his supportive parents.

“Their energy is unmatched when it comes to supporting me in this beautiful journey,” said Budeza. “They hardly missed any of my matches. I’m blessed to have had supportive parents from day one especially in this country where football doesn’t pay bills.”

Following his journey at Linare Football Club, Potloane did great for himself and the team.

His walls at home are covered with medals, certificates and trophies he won - top goal scorer, man of the match and player of the season.

“I believe Linare groomed and gave me the exposure I needed,” Budeza said. 

It was during his era at Linare that he gained recognition and joined the national team Likuena in 2008. He traveled over 20 countries including Ghana, Algeria, Zambia and Liberia to mention but a few.

“It was a dream come true for a little boy with just a dream to flying across the world representing his country,” he said smiling.

Budeza said one of his proudest moments was when he scored a goal against Liberia in the preliminary stages moving Likuena to group stage.

“I still remember that moment like it were yesterday,” he said.

I made my country and myself proud - there is nothing I have done in my career that can beat that.” 

In 2014, Budeza had a fallout with Linare and joined Matlama as an attacking midfielder. But in 2020, he reconciled with his former team and is still with them.

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Speaking on the dangers of playing football, he recalls an injury he suffered in Ethiopia that lasted for eight months.

“It’s the longest injury I ‘ve ever suffered,” Budeza said.

While some medical costs were covered by the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA), he took care of other costs himself.

Budeza is worried about the infrastructure.

“Our play grounds are not satisfactory at all - not to mention the national stadium, Setsoto.” he said. “One other thing is payment. We already earn peanuts and there were times we would not get paid at all but that was nothing because playing for Likuena was an honour for me.”  

After playing for Likuena for almost 10 years, Budeza teases retirement.

“I have achieved everything I ever wanted and more,” he said. “A young me would be proud of me”. I have spent most of my precious years committed to football, maybe it’s time I tried new things.”

He said he believed commitment and discipline could take many aspiring players to places. His favorite international footballer is Luka Modric from Croatia. .

“It’s in the way he carries himself as a player that makes him my favorite,” said Budeza.

Although he has not been in the national squad since the Covid-19 outbreak, he said the team was “pretty amazing” and he was “very proud of them”.

“But given another chance to kick the ball with the national squad, I wouldn’t think twice  because there is nothing I like more than playing for my country,” Budeza said.

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