Rabale is the hope for women football

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Mikia Kalati

NATIONAL women’s football team star, Boitumelo ‘Queen’ Rabale, added another feather to her cap by helping her South African club, Bloemfontein Celtic retain the Sasol League National Championship over the weekend with a 2-0 win over Cape Town Roses.

The Qoaling-born star, who skippers the national team and her club, has been outstanding for Celtic, playing a crucial role in ensuring they win back to back provincial and national championships.

Her talents have not gone unnoticed in South Africa so much that Banyana Banyana coach, Desire Ellis, sang her praises, telling the South African media that she would have walked straight into her starting eleven had she been eligible to play for them.

I have been very fortunate enough to watch ‘Queen’ grow into the star that she has become. She used to play with and compete better than some of the boys in the dusty grounds of Qoaling.

Football has always been her passion and she remained committed despite occasional insults for playing with boys.

Now her exploits are being celebrated in Lesotho and the entire Southern African region.

She is now a point of reference for all female footballers to work harder and also remain committed in order to achieve their goals.

For a long time we had only long-distance runner, Mamoroallo Tjoka, as the only female athlete flying our flag high on the international stage, but it is good that Rabale has come to the picture over the last two years.

There is also Senate Letsie who is currently on a football scholarship in the United States of America and I am sure she will write her own piece of history.

I hope the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) will continue to invest in women’s football which had suffered a great deal without a league before the establishment of the Super League.

It would be most welcome and progressive if in the coming year, LeFA would organise more friendly games for Mehalalitoe so that the women can continue to develop and perform better in next year’s edition of the Women’s regional COSAFA Cup.

It would be remiss of me to conclude this column without commenting about our men’s national under-20 side that is taking part in the COSAFA Cup in Zambia.

There have been heated debates about whether or not some of the players should have been in the team based on their age.

Age cheating has become a serious disease in Africa and it would take a lot of hard work on the part of national, regional and the continental as well as Confederations of African Football to deal with the problem.

That said, there have been positives in the performance of our boys who opened with a goalless stalemate against pre-tournament favourites before coming from a goal down to beat Namibia 2-1 in their second game.

This is certainly a great start for a team that that perennially struggles in competitions. It is even more remarkable given the shoddy preparations the team had prior to the tournament.

Most of our players are already playing premier league football and such tournaments only serve to give them the much-needed exposure.

The team should be kept intact so they develop together before graduating to the senior national team.

LeFA must learn from their past mistake where our very good under-20 side failed to keep the momentum because we did not have an under-23 team they could graduate into.

The fact that Mohaheng Ramalefane walked away with the Man of the Match accolade in the first match and Roboama Koloti did the same in the second game against Namibia shows that there is a lot of potential in this group.

Koloti has already featured a few times for the senior national team and he has proved again and again that he has potential and can become even better through playing international matches.

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