MASERU – Footballers remember the late Lesotho football legend, Seephephe ‘Mochini’ Matete, as a great player of his time, a good coach, and a similarly good instructor.Matete, who died last week at the age of 65, did justice to Lesotho’s football during his entire life.Apart from the fact that Matete was a fantastic player to watch during his time, he is said to have also contributed to the country’s football development later as a coach.
Matete was also a football instructor for both the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA).The local football mother-body, Lesotho Football Association (LeFA), is among those who are hugely devastated by Matete’s death. “It is with great sadness that the Lesotho Football Association inform the football fraternity of the passing away of its legendary player and coach Seephephe Matete, who was affectionately known as ‘Mochini’ or number 10, a name that grew with him from his playing days,” reads a LeFA media statement.
“Matete, who served LeFA in different portfolios over the years, is regarded as one of the greatest footballers to have graced the football fields in the Kingdom of Lesotho. His football career also took him to South Africa where he played in the mines and for Bloemfontein Celtic.”LeFA said in the statement that Matete would also be remembered as the first coach to guide the Lesotho Under-20 national team (Makonayane XI) to the then African Youth Championship which was held in Benin in 2005.
“We seed our deepest condolences to his family, friends and the football fraternity at large. Words cannot express how saddened we are to lose this icon. We wish the family comfort, courage and lots of love as we all mourn our legend.He will be remembered for his bubbly personality and passion for the beautiful game. May his soul rest in peace,” the statement concludes.Former Likuena goalkeeper, Tšepo Mathetha, said Matete lived his entire life serving football.
He said his presence and experience would be hugely missed.“His mileage was in football as a player and coach, until he became a football instructor,” said Mathetha.“I remember him as our coach at the Under-20 National Team (Makoanyane XI) some years ago and again at the National Senior Team (Likuena) together with players like Lehlohonolo Seema in the 1996 COSAFA Cup.”
Mathetha further said: “He lived his life in football and that’s where I began to know him as a coach. We are going to miss him and his football experience.”Former Lesotho Women’s Football Committee’s President, Puseletso Mokhosi, said Matete was a down-to-earth football manager.“He was a down-to-earth football manager. I knew him because I worked with him in different football departments since 2007,” said Mokhosi.
“In fact, he is the reason why I ended up becoming a coach. I was inspired by his coaching.”Mokhosi, who is now a football instructor with both FIFA and CAF, said Matete was her instructor when she did her National Level 1 coaching course.“He was a best instructor who knew his stuff. His death is really a big loss for this country.
“We are going to miss his football knowledge and experience.”Mokhosi further said: “We need to have achieves and people like coach Matete should be writing Lesotho’s football history. May his soul rest in peace.”Another former Lesotho Women’s Football Committee’s president, Maleshoane Mokhathi, said she knew Matete from his time as Matlama’s player.
“I knew Matete from his time as a player; during Matlama’s glory days. He was playing alongside star players like Dingane ‘Walk Tall’ ’Mefane, Baba and his elder bother Mahao ‘Bomber’ Matete, amongst others,” said Mokhathi.“I could compare Matete with Jomo Sono (a South African football legend who played for Orlando Pirates) during those days. He was a gifted player.”
Mokhathi said she later worked together with Matete during her tenure as a President for the Women’s Football Committee.“If my memory serves well, Matete was the first football manager who was attached by FIFA to work with us in women’s football.
“I can’t remember if he was already LeFA’s Technical Director, but we worked with him at the FIFA level, as a FIFA medium of communications and he showed a lot of respect to me.”Mokhathi said Matete had a charming character so much that even if one could not agree with him as far as football matters are concerned, he would still consult them in areas when he needed their expertise and said you could not ignore him.
“He was a kind of person who would laugh no matter you are angry with him or not. That was his character.”
A-Division Management Committee (ADMACO)’s public relations officer, Mothusi Letsie, also said he knew Matete from his time as Matlama’s player.
Letsie said Matete was an ace midfielder.
“I still remember his last game against Cosmos with Jomo Sono wearing jersey number 10 and him also wearing number 10 on the other side,” said Letsie.
The ADMACO spokesperson said from there Matete became Matlama’s coach.
“I was once fortunate to have him as my coach as I used to train with the reserve side of Matlama called Winners as a goalkeeper.”
Letsie was again fortunate to have Matete as his instructor later when he was doing Level 1 Coaching Course and again when he was doing CAF C License.
“Apart from that Coach Matete was doing a good job working for the Lesotho Football Association in different departments.
“He loved football so much and I don’t remember seeing him agree since I knew.”
Letsie said Matete’s death is a big loss for the local football fraternity.
“About 90 percent, if not 99 of the local coaches were instructed by him and so death is really a big loss to Lesotho’s football.”
Matete was recently the Head Coach of the Lesotho Mounted Police Services (LMPS) Football Club.
He was also the former Lesotho Senior National team (Likuena) Head Coach.