By Mikia Kalati
The country has lost one of its greatest sons in Bishop Molatoli, who passed away on Tuesday after a short illness.
I have had so many football-related encounters with Molatoli that I don’t even know where to start in paying my respects.
This is a man who gave us so many memories from his playing days, as a coach, and as the founder of FC Likhopo that is today one of the biggest teams in the country having achieved so much success in terms of trophies within the short since its inception.
Molatoli had, over the years, developed a reputation for having one of the best eyes for talent by regularly turning amateurs into superstars.
He managed to transform relative unknowns into sought-after talents in our league despite operating on a shoestring budget. The financial struggles football has endured in this country are well documented.
Bokang Mothoana, Tlali Maile, Thapelo Tale, Lerata Tšalong, Phoka Matete, Tšeliso Sejake, Tefo Maipato, Liteboho Mokhesi, Kananelo Makhooane, Majalefa Tšoeu and Ralekoti Mokhahlane are among the talents he nurtured, and the list goes on.
These form just a small portion of the players that have come through the ranks at FC Likhopo under the great mentorship of the late Molatoli and today are among the biggest names to have ever graced our football fraternity.
It is all thanks to this man that our under-20 team qualified for the 2004 African youth championship held in Benin.
The bulk of the team coached by Seephephe Mochini Matete consisted of players from Molatoli’s team.
It was the same story again in 2011 when our under-20 team qualified for the same tournament played in South Africa and once again Likhopo dominated the squad with over six players.
I guess the best way to describe him is that he ate, drank, slept and lived for the beautiful game.
The football family has indeed lost a very special person who was driven by the love for the beautiful game. Molatoli’s demise comes barely a year since the passing on of one of his great products, Sello ‘Muso, who passed away last year.
Like the former Lioli coach, Lehlohonolo Thotanyana said football was his religion and he was indeed a great ambassador of the game, a passionate developer who dedicated his life to football.
I would therefore like to pass my condolences to the family of Molatoli and the football fraternity for the great loss.
We thank you for sharing him with us. Go well great man!
Before I conclude, I wish to congratulate the former Likuena coaching pair of Leslie Notsi and Thotanyana who last Sunday won their first match since taking over as the new technical team at United FC.
They managed to clinch a 2-1 victory over Jomo Cosmos just a week after their appointment.
We indeed are very proud of the two former Likuena coaches and wish them the best of luck at their new home.