Mokhosi an inspiration to women football



A former football player, coach and now a match commissioner, Puseletso Mokhosi is probably one of the most recognised and impactful footballers in Lesotho right now. She is, in fact, arguably the most recognisable footballer of her time, having served as the president of the Lesotho Women Football Committee and also a member of the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) Women Committee.

This makes her a football icon in women soccer, having also played for the senior women national team, Mehalalitoe, and become the head coach of the same national team after she retired from competitive football.   Mokhosi played for several ladies’ teams before hanging her soccer boots.

But she not only played football as a young girl but also played volleyball and netball, while she also used to participate in athletics during her days as a high school student. “But I don’t remember playing football in primary school. I am sure I was playing a plastic ball with the boys while waiting for school to close so that I could quickly go home and play real football,” says Mokhosi. Mokhosi was a student at Methodist High School when she started playing different sports like volleyball, netball and athletics.

“I started playing volleyball, netball and participated in athletics while in high school and I supposed it was because they were among the popular sports played at my school at the time. “It was also because at Methodist High School you were forced to do something: It’s either you were in sports or you participated in debate or in music. You had to do something besides academics.”

During schools’ vacation, Mokhosi continued to play football. “I used to play for home teams during schools’ vacation. I also played for other teams such as Arsenal, Khutsa and Maseru Celtic which were based in town during school days.” Growing up in Tšenola, Maseru, Mokhosi played for her home team, called Tšenola FC as a young girl at the time. She started to play a number of sports as a student at the National University of Lesotho (NUL).

“Then I went to Roma (NUL) where I played a number of sports. I also continued playing volleyball and football, amongst others. I realised while at NUL that a volleyball player is more prone to injuries than a footballer.” This Mokhosi realised the day she fractured her finger while playing volleyball. “I fractured my finger and realised that volleyball is not my favourite sport. So I quit volleyball as early as 2003 in my first year at NUL and focused on football until 2006. “I was still playing for Celtic and Rovers Ladies while at the university and Celtic during schools’ vacations.”

Mokhosi became part of the Mehalalitoe team from 1998 until 2006. “I started playing for Mehalalitoe in my last years at high school, but there was not much competition for the national team while I was at NUL. I still remember the 1998 game between Mehalalitoe and Mozambique, but I don’t remember what was the qualification.” Mokhosi says Mehalalitoe lost 3-0 in front of home fans. She said even though there were not many competitions for the national team, she used to turn down Mehalalitoe call-ups.

“In between those years while I was still at Roma (NUL), I used to decline most of Mehalalitoe call-ups because they clashed with examinations.” Mokhosi volunteered to work at the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) headquarters after she graduated from the NUL in 2006. Fortunately for her, she arrived at LeFA at the right time when the football mother-body was about to hold a Level One coaching course.

“That was in 2007 and coach, Likhetho Mokhathi (LeFA’s employee at the time), encouraged me to attend the coaching course.” Mokhosi was still playing for Maseru Celtic at the time and she continued playing for them even after completing the coaching course. “Then I became a player-coach after doing the course in 2007, helping Celtic coaches with training sessions.”

Mokhosi got an opportunity to become a Kick4lLife Ladies coach in 2012. “In 2021, I attended a women football tournament which was held in Ha Mabote, Berea. It was there where I realised that teams like Kick4Life Ladies were still there and surviving, and then I spoke to one of their people asking to help them in coaching.” Mokhosi coached Kick4Life Ladies from 2012 until 2021 and at the time, she was already in the coaching system of the national teams.

“I was already in the coaching system of the national teams because in 2011 I was the assistant coach to Coach Likhetho Mokhathi for the under-20 national team. “But I got a clear appointment in 2015 that I will be a head coach of Mehalalitoe, even though coaching national teams was still an interim and not permanent position.” Mokhosi became the coach of Mehalalitoe from 2015 until 2017 when she decided to terminate her appointment.

“I no longer wanted to continue as a coach of the national team, the reason being that I was into football politics at the time, for I was already the chairman/president of the Women Football Committee. That was after I realised that it would cause confusion, for a chairman to also be a coach of the national team.” On top of that, LeFA nominated Mokhosi to the COSAFA Women Committee in 2017. “That’s when I realised that politics and administration can cause a lot of conflict. So, as a result, I decided to give other coaches a chance to coach the national team.”

But Mokhosi continued with her role as Kick4Life Ladies’ coach until she left them when she became a match commissioner. “That was after I realised that I had an interest in being a match commissioner, after I landed the role of a match commissioner for COSAFA, CAF and FIFA.” But Mokhosi says what made it difficult for her as a coach was that in Lesotho one has to incorporate a match commissioning course with a referees’ assessor.

“But it’s different at international level and I don’t know why here at home it’s like that. At international level, you will find that there is a match commissioner for a certain game, while there is also a match assessor and a match coordinator at the same time. But here at home, one person does all those three roles alone.” So Mokhosi had to quit coaching for her to become a match commissioner/referees assessor.

“I started to be a match commissioner in 2019 but it was only in 2021 when I was made aware that match commissioning/referees’ assessing falls under the refereeing department and, as a result, I should not be attached to any team. “So that’s why I stopped coaching Kick4Life Ladies and continued with a referees’ assessor which I realised I really liked a lot after several courses. Now I am a referees’ instructor because I did all its courses.” Mokhosi studied economics and apart from football, she works at the planning department in the Ministry of Gender and Youth, Sports and Recreation.

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