21 September 2017 – The importance of the SAB Regional League as well as the SAB U21 National U21 Championships in playing the role of a development structure has once again been validated after Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter selected Lebo Mothiba in his recent squad.
The 21-year-old Mothiba, who is now based in France playing on loan for second division side Valenciennes on loan from top tier side Lille, started his road to football stardom in the SAB Regional League in Gauteng representing Diambars FC.
Mothiba has since played six matches for Valenciennes this season, scoring on two occasions in the league, while providing one assist. French Football magazine, one of the biggest in the country, earmarked the South African as one of the top 10 young players to watch in the second tier this campaign, calling him a ‘real talent’ and expressing Lille’s decision to loan him out as a coup for Valenciennes.
Ever since his days at Diambars, where he was interestingly spotted by Bafana Bafana assistant coach Thabo Senong, the talented striker has grown in leaps and bounds, even going to Brazil to represent South Africa at the Rio Olympics, where he rubbed shoulders with superstars like PSG’s Neymar and Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus.
The striker is now in line to make his Bafana Bafana debut when the national team continue their push for a place at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia should coach Baxter choose to name him in the team that will play.
Bafana will play against Burkina Faso on October 7 at the FNB Stadium.