Baholo Motene made history last week when at age 28 she became the youngest ever president of the Lesotho Women’s Football Executive Committee. The Southern Times Sport’s Joe Machingura caught up with her to get a glimpse into her plans for women’s football in the Mountain Kingdom
Q: How does it feel to be the youngest executive in Lesotho football?
A: It feels good, knowing that I have proved everyone who believed in me right.
Q: What are the challenges associated with your position and how do you intend to tackle them?
A: Challenges bring opportunities, that is how I view it. Yes, challenges may come, they are inevitable. In my case, there are challenges when it comes to implementing strategies for women’s football and this is mainly because of lack of funding.
This is an exciting role and there is so much focus in terms of strategy, development and funding.
Q: What changes need to be implemented in women’s football in Lesotho as well as in SADC as a whole?
A: FIFA and CAF need to put more effort in financing women’s football as they have done this year.
The football associations in the region need to invest more in women’s football. We need to work harder to attract sponsors.
We also need to have a proper strategic planning for women’s football and have inclusiveness of women in all courses carried out by the FAs.
Q: Do women footballers get as much priority as their male counterparts?
A: In the past years, I would say women footballers were not prioritised. But since 2015 when we had the first ever Women's Super League, which has been active to date, women footballers have been given the same priority as men, even though it is a well-known fact that football is still regarded by some people as a men’s game.
Sponsorship is still a problem in order for women to earn a living through football, but our FA always makes sure to treat their leagues through (FIFA funding) and at national team level fairly. Affiliated clubs, including women’s teams, get the same courses as men.
Q: Who have been the biggest influences on your career?
A: I have quite a number of mentors from when I started as a football administrator: Mokhosi Mohapi, the Lesotho Football Association secretary-general; Thabaneng Lekhooa, who is my deputy; Chris Bullock, the former secretary of the Women’s Football National Committee; and Ketsibile Phatsoane and Lehloenya Nkhasi, my coaches when we started the LDF team.
Q: Can you give us a brief round-up of your career path to date?
A: I started playing at a very young age, during the Lesotho National Vision 2020 Games back in 2006. I got promoted to the national under-17 team and played the COSASSA Ball Games in 2009, where Lesotho placed third. I also played in the COSAFA Women’s Championship and Under-20 World Cup preliminary round in 2011.
In 2013, I went for the Lesotho National Olympic Committee sports administration course. My career as a player paused when I got enlisted in the army and I had to go for the recruitment course in 2014, but immediately after completion, I helped create a ladies team in the army, the Lesotho Defence Force Ladies team. The team is dominating football in Lesotho and is well-known internationally.
I become more of a player-administrator and the previous Women’s Super League Committee appointed me to become the secretary of the league in 2017.
In 2019 I was appointed team manager of the Lesotho women’s senior national team by the Lesotho Football Association. We played a number of international friendlies to prepare the team for international tournaments.
On 18 July, 2020 I was elected president of Lesotho Women’s Football.