THE football and entire sports fraternity has been plunged into mourning following the untimely death of legendary striker and Coach, Motlatsi Shale, who passed on last Thursday after a short illness.
The former Likuena striker was a giant in stature and as far as his football career was concerned.
Shale had a colorful career which included a stint in the South African premier league with Bloemfontein Celtic and with local giants such as Liphakoe, Majantja, Matlama, LCS as well as the all-conquering Likhopo side of the early 2000s.
His finest moment came as part of the Likuena side which went all the way to the COSAFA Cup final in 2000.
Upon retiring, he tried his hand at coaching and learnt from the best including the late Likhopo owner and coach Bishop Molatoli.
Even during his early days at Likhopo, the signs were there that he was destined for greater things as a gaffer and he finally Shale finally fulfilled his potential by leading Bantu to their first ever league title in their 87th year of existence during the 2013/14 season. They also won several trophies under his tutelage such as the Independence Top 4.
Off the field, I have had a few encounters with Shale over a drink and he came across as an affable and unassuming character.
He was also an honest character who never hesitated to call it as he saw it. He sometimes courted controversy by criticising his colleagues on national radio especially those that coached the national team when it was not doing well.
At the time of his death, Shale was in charge of Majantja, a team that has just returned to top flight football after years in the lower divisions.
The Mohale’s Hoek based outfit have been stable so far despite expectations in many quarters that they would struggle.
It is a credit to Shale’s coaching abilities they did not have the fear factor and stunned a number of teams this season.
For someone who was only 41, there is no doubt that Shale went too soon at a time when we still expected much more from him.
I visited him in hospital two days before he passed on and it was clear that he was in pain. I never imagined the worst and I was hopeful that the warrior in him would enable him to pull through.
The football fraternity has been robbed one of its favourite sons, but his legacy lives on.
I extend my heartfelt condolences to his family, Majantja and the football fraternity, on my own behalf and that of the Lesotho Times and Sunday Express newspapers.
In another development, I want to congratulate Lebenya Nkoka and Mamoroallo Tjoka for winning the male and female categories respectively of the High Altitude Summer Marathon in Mokhotlong on Saturday.
The duo each received M100 000 in prize money.
The story of Tjoka should inspire young athletes to never give up.
She could have easily given up after being handed a two year ban for the use of illegal substances but she has been unstoppable since returning to the sport.