Cheetahs debut for Lesotho rugby trio

NTHAKO MAJORO

MASERU – Three Lesotho female rugby players have been selected to the Cheetahs Women for the South African (SA) Women’s First Division Rugby Championship. The trio – Nthabeleng Lebetsa, Mosongoa Monaheng and ’Mapaseka Rammoko – were last month called up for the Free State Senior Women Elite training squad, dubbed Cheetahs Women and also called Free State Women since it is representing the Free State province.

The three players were called up after the completion of the Free State Women Rugby League in which a Lesotho team, Kingdom Select Women, also known as the Lesotho Highlands Women, was among the competitors in the league.

The Lesotho players were initially called up to the provisional team where all of them were given a run when the Cheetahs Women beat Griffons Women 61-0 in a Test match in Welkom, South Africa, last Saturday. In the same Test match against Griffons Women, Monaheng scored a try. The trio impressed in the same Test match and were selected to the final squad on Monday this week. “We have been selected to the final team, all of us,” said Monaheng in an interview with Public Eye on Tuesday.

A total 47 players were called up to the Cheetahs provisional squad before the final selection of 40 players, and Monaheng was still excited about making the starting line up in a Test match against Griffons Women and also for scoring a try. “I am so proud of myself and I would like to thank my coach at the Kingdom Select Women in Lesotho, Letsielo Mabitle,” she said. Monaheng said if it was not because of Mabitle, she could have not been where she is today.

“To be honest, if it was not because of Coach Mabitle, I would not have been where I am today. “I am where I am today because I used to follow his coaching instructions.” Monaheng further said: “I am still proud even today. I never knew that one day I would be selected to play for the Cheetahs Women squad.” Rammoko was also excited about her selection. “I am very happy to be one of Lesotho players who have impressed the Cheetahs Women’s coaches,” said Rammoko.

Rammoko, who played as prop against Griffons Women last Saturday, said she was pleased about her performance in a Test match. “I played as prop, playing position three, and I performed very well,” she said. Lebetsa was also elated by the selection. “I am very proud to be one of Lesotho players selected to play for a big team like Cheetahs,” Lebetsa said. The SA Women First Division tournament kicks off tomorrow where Cheetahs Women face Griffons Women, the same team they beat 61-0 last Saturday in a Test match.

Cheetahs Women are also pitted against Griquas Women and SWD in Group B, while Group A is made up of Leopards Women, Valke Women, Limpopo Bulls and Pumas Women. Rammoko, Lebetsa and Monaheng were not the first Lesotho female rugby players to be selected to the Cheetahs Women. The first players to get the call up were Palesa Pitso, Moliehi Mporoane and Mokias Phasumane in 2019. But all of them only made the provisional squad and none was given a Test match run.

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