HE BURST onto the soccer scene as a wide-eyed teenager back in 2003 aged only 17, and at 23 Lebohang Mokoena is seen by many as a veteran in the game.
He was so good that Kaizer Chiefs defender Dominic Isaacs, who was with Ajax Cape Town at the time, threatened to break his legs.
He has survived tough times, with his mother Martha Mokoena and best friend Gift Leremi, both dying within a short space of time of each other.
As if that was not enough, Mokoena found it hard to break into Orlando Pirates' first team under Dutch coach Rudi Krol.
He then decided to pack his bags and head for Chloorkop, Mamelodi Sundowns' headquarters - a move seen by many as "career suicide".
But under the watchful eye of Hristo Stoichkov, "Cheeseboy" is slowly getting back to his best. He took time out to chat to Sowetan.
Q: Who did you grow up supporting?
A: I grew up supporting Orlando Pirates.
Q: Who was your childhood model?
A: There were quite a few, the likes of Teboho Moloi and Bashin Mahlangu all come to mind. But even though I supported Pirates, I enjoyed watching Doctor Khumalo and Ace Khuse at Kaizer Chiefs.
Q: What was your first car?
A: It was a 2002 VW Polo.
Q: What car do you drive?
A: I drive a BMW 1 Series.
Q: If money was not an object, which car would you be driving?
A: A Ford Mustang, I just love it.
Q: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
A: France. I love the place, and the people are so lovely.
Q: If you could invite five famous people over for dinner, who would they be?
A: It would be Lionel Messi, Patrice Motsepe, Irvin Khoza, Pele and Diego Maradona.
Q: Who is your favourite musician?
A: Linda Mkhize, also known as Pro Kid. He is a very good friend of mine and a talented musician.
Q: Favourite song at the moment?
A: It's Pressa, Pusha, Phanda by Pro Kid from his latest album Snakes and Ladders.
Q: Favourite movie?
A: Blood In Blood Out.
Q: What do you do in your spare time?
A: I take my car to Majita Car Wash in Pimville or just stay at home and play Playstation.
Q: If you could bring one famous person back from the dead, who would it be?
A: It would be Gift Leremi.
Q: What is your earliest Christmas memory?
A: It was when my mother was still alive, and we'd invite family members over for a braai and there would be so much love.
Q: Any embarrassing moments in/out of the field?
A: It was when we played Mpumalanga Black Aces recently. One of their players actually dribbled me, but I chased after him and won the ball back. But after passing it to my teammate, I could not stop laughing.
Q: Has a defender ever said anything negative to you to put you off the game?
A: Yes, Cyril Nzama and Japie Motale would say anything to put you off the game. I remember Cyril telling me that he'd head-butt me!