Thandiwe Kubere

Lesotho Correctional Services football club (LCS FC) and Lesotho National team defender Thabang Malane, popularly known as 17 Bulleted Sniper expressed his gratitude for his football career which keeps paying off, not only for himself but his country at large. The talented right back was amongst Lesotho National Senior team individuals who played their hearts out in Hollywood bets COSAFA CUP 2023 that made it to the finals and claimed silver medals.

Hollywood bets COSAFA CUP was held in Durban from 5 to 16 this month. Thabang made 4 appearances and he did not only win the hearts of football fans but he scooped player of the Match award when Likuena defeated Mozambique with a goal to nil. Not only that, but Sniper made it to the Best 11 players of the tournament alongside his teammates, Bantu’s Neo Mokhachane and LMPS FC’s guardian of the goalposts Sekhoane Moerane.

Malane commenced his professional football journey 2016 at Sky Battalion and joined his current club Masheshena in 2017.

“When I joined LCS in 2017 I was playing right wing but in 2018 our team ran out of defenders and I then sought the coach’s approval for me to play as a right back and they did not have a problem with that. Proving it was the right decision, I got a National team call up in 2020 and on the 14th of November the very same year, I made a debut when we were battling Benin”, Malane added.

The 25 year old defender has 25 international career appearances, 11 AFCON Qualifiers, 9 Hollywood bets COSAFA CUP and 5 FIFA Friendlies.

He declared that even having had achieved so much for his age, his career path did not have a smooth beginning. His hometown was in the rural areas of Nasareta and he explain there were no professional qualified coaches, and for that reason they were coached by former soccer players, which meant that the training was not as effective as it would have been had the case been different. What helped his case, was coming to study in Maseru where he got the privilege of getting good coaches since his arrival, he continued playing and putting his blood and sweat in the games he played, which led to his recognition. “I further got fortunate and became spotted by already established teams which made their mark in the country.

“Out of all the teams which approached me, I choose LCS FC taking into consideration the opportunities that would come with it. For one, I knew I stood a good chance of playing for the national team, which is now not just a dream but a reality. Again, I figured I could play internationally as well, which I am currently working hard towards and I am positive that in due time, it will all be possible”, he joyfully remarked.

Despite having an enthralling football journey, Malane still has a dream of playing outside the country when the time is right and has great hope that his journey and dream of being a star and a beam of hope not only to those who come after him but those who look up to him, is just at the beginning.

His advice to those who have an aspiration of becoming future professional soccer players is to work hard because if talent is not accompanied by effort, it becomes fruitless. “It is important to learn and respect what you do. There are a lot of things that can stand in the way of someone flourishing in their career, for instance, people still drink alcohol but they do so knowingly and have in their minds how that action affects their career, but on the other hand, others are ignorant of the consequences which come after. Therefore at the end of the day, to get where you want to be, it all comes to one thing- respect your talent and work very hard.