LeFA honours Phatšoane, Rabale over CAF milestones
The Lesotho Football Association has honoured the duo of Souru Phatšoane and Boitumelo ‘Queen’ Rabale following their milestones in the CAF Champions League and Africa Cup of Nations respectively.
Mehalalitoe captain, Rabale in October last year became the first Lesotho player to win the CAF Champions League after lifting the inaugural edition of the Women’s club tournament with Mamelodi Sundowns.
Phatšoane on the other hand inked his name in the history books of football in the country and the continent along with South Africa duo of Victor Gomes and Zakhele Siwela, by becoming the first referees from Southern Africa to officiate the final of the recent 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.
Speaking at the welcome reception on Monday, Phatšoane stated that the appointment to officiate the final between Senegal and Egypt came as a surprise to him as this was only his second time officiating at the continental showpiece.
“The news of the appointment to officiate the final only reached us two days before the match and as you would expect, we were over the moon after we learnt of that decision,” Phatšoane revealed.
“At that moment the most important thing for us was to remain injury free. We had to be cautions in our preparations for the final so as not to jeopardise that dream.”
The Tṧenola born assistant referee, who has already officiated the CAF Super Cup and Confederations Cup finals, revealed that his expectation was to officiate at least three Afcon tournaments before he could dream of officiating the final of the continental showpiece.
“My secret thoughout the years is simple, its to work hard and make use of every opportunity that comes my way. I always make sure that I’m in good shape to be able to cope with the demands of a game because teams can make substitutes, who are fresh from the bench while referees don’t have such an option,” Phatšoane said.
“I make sure that my fitness level can take me beyond the 90 minutes of every game I officiate.
“To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to be part of the officiating team for the final because if you look at the team that I was working with, I’m not yet at the level of their experience when it comes to officiating in continental competitions. I don’t want to lie, it all came as a surprise looking at the fact that this was only my second Afcon tournament, my age and their experience,” he said.
LeFA Executive Committee Member and Chairman of the Referees Committee, Tebalo Mpiti, stated that the Association is proud of Phatšoane achievements and is adamant more referees will follow in his footsteps.
“We are very proud of Phatšoane, who has continued to fly our flag high internationally and I hope his younger colleagues are learning from him because his achievements at the international stage speak for themselves,” Mpiti said.
“It’s our dream to see more referees getting to this level and surpassing his achievements. Looking at his performance in recent years and at the recent tournament, I have no doubt that he will make the next World Cup, which will make us prouder.”