12 May 2020
Our latest interview with women football’s inspirational figures continues this week when we caught up with former Likhosatsana and Mehalalitoe legend Lisebo Ramakatsa.
WSL Media (WSL): How did you get in to playing football growing up?
Lisebo Ramakatsa (LR): I played with boys growing up and football was the order of the day. When I was twelve years old there was a girls’ football team formed in my village Tsénola and the Coach (Killer Phatsoane) recruited me to play for the team.
WSL: Tell us about your football career and some of your biggest highlights
LR: Right at 12 years old in the course of playing for the village team two other players and I were selected to join the Maseru district team for DIFA women football competition. It was the first highlight of my football career.
Later that year I was the first female to win Olympic Gold Ribbon in the tournament that was held at the Setsoto stadium. I played for Mehalalitoe (National team) and the women’s under 20 national team when I was 13 years old.
With two teams combined I can count more than 20 caps inclusive of international tournaments and friendlies. Locally from 2001 to 2008 I have played for countless tournaments including the women’s soccer league, Vision 2020 and DIFA tournaments.
My other achievements include captaining Likhosatsana, one of the best women’s teams in the country, between 2001 and 2008, winning the league title six times and winning Player of the Season five times, being appointed captain of the u20 national team at 16 years old, being the first female player in Lesotho to score against South Africa, when I scored against Basetsana (South Africa women’s u20 national team) and the first woman Olympic ribbon winner in 2001 at the age of 12 years old.
WSL: What did it mean to represent your country and did you feel a responsibility or inspiration to Basotho women and girls as a big name in women’s football in Lesotho?
LR: Playing for the national team was a great honour. It gave me platforms that I never thought I would attain in my entire lifetime like being on radios, televisions, newspapers, educational programs, jobs, visited multiple neighbouring countries including Mozambique, Zambia, Botswana, Swaziland. I was a household name, young boys and girls looked up to me. My actions and conclusions were guided by my career in football and made me the woman I am today. The life skills attained from playing in that cadre are so fundamental that they play a prominent role in my career today.
WSL: How do you feel football can bridge the equality gap in Lesotho and across the world?
LR: Soccer is a male dominated sport. As a woman in soccer we are inherently surrounded by men. This makes us accustomed to them and working with them favourably. It helps bridge the gender gap as we celebrate each other’s’ strengths and embrace each other’s weaknesses. Men and women working together contributes significantly in defeating the gender gap and promoting equality, and this includes Lesotho and the international world.
WSL: In what ways do you believe women’s football has grown in Lesotho and what more can be done to grow women’s football in Lesotho, Africa and globally?
LR: Women football in Lesotho has grown so much, especially looking at the super league, the administration of the sport, the level of technique the players have. It is so different and superior as compared to the past.
Football is no different than any other discipline. The football fraternity needs thorough planning, funding, strategy, execution, transparency. Success then is inevitable.
WSL: Are you still involved in women’s football in any way and do you have any ambitions in the game still?
LR: I’m currently not participating in woman’s football because of my busy work schedule. I would however wish to be engaged in the near future.
WSL: How do you feel football helped you grow as a person?
LR:I was built by football. My outlook on life, my success, my character, is all football. Football taught me how to be and I still am.
WSL: What message would you give to young girls who want to get involved in playing football?
LR: Unlike any other sport football is a very demanding sport for women. As a male dominated sport, the ground has been levelled and the standard set. For a woman to compete in this set structure they would need discipline, passion, perseverance and hard work. I would encourage girls to be involved in the sport which has a potential to build great minds and characters beyond the field of sports, therefore a lucrative investment. For those who are involved in the sport keep on keeping on and create your own legacy. You will never regret this choice.