Likuena striker Motebang Sera has hit the ground running at Bloemfontein Celtic, scoring four goals from his six opening games with Phunya-Sele-Sele. The 25-year old striker joined the Bloemfontein side on a two-year contract at the start 2019/20 season.
In this wide ranging interview, Sera opens-up about leaving Matlama for greener pastures in South Africa.
LeFA: Tell us about how you left Matlama after so many years with the club?
Sera: Leaving Matlama was not easy at all for me because I had been with the club for a very long time. That is where it all started for me. I had achieved a lot with the team, especially in the last season I was with them. But then again I felt the right time had come for me to take a new challenge in my football career. But I will forever be grateful to Matlama for giving me the opportunity to live my dream and play at the highest level in the country (Lesotho).
LeFA: Who was the first person you told after signing with Celtic, and how did you feel?
Sera: It was the best feeling in the world; I was over the moon. Immediately I called my family. My brother and my wife were the first people I talked to. It was an indication I was in the right track. I felt my dreams coming true.
LeFA: How were your first days at Celtic? How did you manage to settle in?
Sera: It was difficult for me because the only player I knew was Maloisane ‘Chukwu’ Ramasimong, who previously played for Bantu in Lesotho. I had to learn things quickly and get to know my new teammates. In the field of play, I always ensured that i put an extra shift to impress the coaches and show them what I can offer the team. During the trials, it was not so bad as I had gone with two of my teammates at the national team, namely Litšepe Marabe and Hlompho Kalake, as well as Lazola Jokojokwane – all from Bantu. Their presence during the trials made life a bit easy for me to settle down. They deserve credit for helping me get a contract with Celtic.
LeFA: How has it been working with Likuena legend and Celtic coach Lehlohonolo Seema?
Sera: He has been supportive throughout; from when I came to the club for trials and after signing with them. I think he understands me very well as my coach and I enjoy working with him. He knows my strengths and this is why I have managed to deliver at my early days with the club.
LeFA: You have won several accolades in the Lesotho Premier League last season, having helped Matlama to win the league title and winning the Golden Boot Award. What do you want to achieve at your new club in a new league this season after such a good start?
Sera: I would say the 2018/19 season was the best ever in my football career up to so far. I was deadly as a striker and the hunger to succeed always pushed me to be the best at my club, as well as in the whole league. I am glad that I left a mark in my last season at Matlama and in my home country. Here at Celtic, I first want to be a regular in the team and score as many goals as possible. The South African Premier League and the club can be a good stepping stone for me to achieve even more. This will make way for me to attract scouts from the bigger leagues in Europe.
LeFA: You are part of the national squad that kick-started the 2021 African Cup of Nations qualifiers with a 1-1 draw against Sierra Leone in Freetown and face Nigeria at Setsoto Stadium on Sunday. What do you want to achieve with Likuena?
Sera: I have a dream of playing at the African Cup of Nations and I will do my best to help my country do well in the qualifying campaign. Anything is possible; we should give it our best in every game. We are in a difficult a group, but we are determined to do our country proud and fight for our flag. Afcon is the biggest tournament in the continent. It is also a good platform for us as Likuena players to impress scouts and win contracts to play abroad. But for our dream to come true, we need to give our best in every game.
LeFA: You scored your first goal in the ABSA Premiership against defending champions, Mamelodi Sundowns, from a penalty spot. Were you not nervous to take the spot-kick against Denis Onyango, who is regarded as one of the best in the continent?
Sera: To be honest, I was not even assigned by the coaches to take that penalty. I just felt it in my guts it was an opportune time for me to prove those that probably doubted my ability wrong at the club, being a new player. I took it as a make-or-break moment for me. I did not even think about Onyango as I took the penalty. It was the last thing in my mind.
LeFA: Which of the four goals you scored at Celtic was special, considering that you are new at the club?
Sera: I think the goal against SuperSport United was special because I still had a lot of people doubting my ability at the club. I was handed my first start by the technical team. Coach Seema had prepared me for it two days prior to the game. It was an opportunity to show them what I can do and I grabbed that opportunity with both hands. I was relieved after scoring that goal.