Refereeing changed my life for the better
Like any other boy growing up in Qoaling, Lebalang Mokete had a dream of becoming a successful footballer, but his dream was cut short by an injury, which forced him to retire and shift his focus to refereeing.
Little did he know that becoming a referee would take him to places that he could only dream of and let alone become the youngest referee to officiate in the Lesotho Premier League.
Mokete, who was born in Mafeteng says his passion for the game developed after he moved to Qoaling as a 13-year-old boy and his passion to become a referee was inspired living in the same neighbourhood as Mohau Sentso, who was already a FIFA referee when his football career was prematurely ended by injury.
“I was a football player, but I got injured and my mother asked me to leave the sport because it was getting too much for her to always look after me when I was Injured,” Mokete revealed.
“It was not easy for me to leave football totally and I decided to join refereeing as one of its department and as they say, the rest is history.”
The now 32-year-old whose first international assignment was the COSAFA Under-20 Championship in 2017, stated that being a FIFA Referee looks good and glamorous, but comes with a lot of hard work.
“Being a FIFA referee looks good and glamorous with all the traveling, staying at top class hotels and boarding flights every time and now, but it comes with lot of hard work,” adds Mokete.
“We train a lot; we read laws of the game and analyse clips. There is also pressure because we do not want to make mistakes especially that change the result of the match. I hate suspensions.
Mokete, who holds a Bachelor of Education from the National University of Lesotho and is a teacher by profession, revealed that being a referee changed his life a lot.
“Yes, refereeing changed my life a lot. I learned to be disciplined in life, it taught me to respect every person regardless of their age and It further taught me how to approach and deal with different people and situations.
“Refereeing nurtured me, I learned patience in this field and of course, financially, I’m able to provide for my family,” he said.