Lebo Mothiba completes move from Lille to Strasbourg
Bafana Bafana striker Lebo Mothiba has completed his move to French Ligue 1 side Strasbourg and admitted it was with a “heavy heart” that he was leaving Lille.
The 22-year-old had not asked for the transfer‚ but cash-strapped Lille were eager to move him on and bring in revenue from one of their rising stars‚ though they have opened the door for his return later on.
Mothiba has signed a five-year contract with reports in France suggesting the fee could rise as high as €8-million (R135-million) with add-ons.
Lille have also secured 50 percent of any future transfer fee and have a buy-back clause that means they can purchase Mothiba at any time in the next two years if they wish.
“It’s a great day for me‚ but it’s with a heavy and emotional heart that I leave my training club [Lille]‚” Mothiba said in a heartfelt goodbye message on his official Instagram account.
“Thanks to the fans for their love and unconditional support from my first steps in the winter of 2013 in [the] U19 [side]. I will not forget you and you are engraved in my heart.
“During these five years I have matured as a player‚ but especially as a man. Thank you to all the educators‚ coaches and staff who have helped me.
“Each in his own way has allowed me to build and progress.”
Mothiba’s move was announced on the Strasbourg website‚ where he gave his formula for success.
“Work hard at training and always give my best‚” he said. “Life is beautiful. I am lucky to be a footballer so I have to enjoy every moment.
“I am very happy to sign at Racing. I will give everything to the club‚ work hard every day and try to score a lot of goals to make people happy!"
Mothiba is not the first South African striker to play for Strasbourg‚ where Katlego Mphela had a spell as a teenager‚ though without success.
Strasbourg have started the season with four points from a possible nine‚ beating Bordeaux on the opening day before a home draw with St Etienne and an away loss to Lyon.
Mothiba will return to South Africa next week having been selected in Stuart Baxter’s Bafana squad for the African Nations Cup qualifier against Libya in Durban on September 8.