We've got news for you.

Register on TimesLIVE at no cost to receive newsletters, read exclusive articles & more.
Register now

Bafana’s Mothiba is an artist on the ball – and off it, too

14 November 2018 - 07:00 By marc strydom
Lebo Mothiba during a training session at the FNB Stadium in October 2017.
Lebo Mothiba during a training session at the FNB Stadium in October 2017.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu /BackpagePix

Striking in football is an art form – and Bafana Bafana’s most exciting striker to emerge for some time, Lebo Mothiba, has revealed that he’s an artist off the field, too.

Encouragingly, while Mothiba – in Johannesburg for Bafana Bafana’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Nigeria at FNB Stadium on Saturday – comes across engaging and entirely pleasant and normal, he names eccentrics Mario Balotelli and Zlatan Ibrahimovic as among his idols.

He’s painted them, too.

That’s encouraging because some of the world’s best geniuses on the field – such as Balotelli and Ibrahimovic, or Eric Cantona, who has gone on to a creditable acting career after being a Manchester United legend – have been eccentric off it.

Mothiba’s artistic streak was featured on TV in France recently; the country where the big 22-year-old centre-forward has banged in seven goals in 13 games for Strasbourg and Lille in Ligue 1 this season.

“Actually I was on TV, in an interview. And I was showing them what I do outside football,” he explained after a Bafana training session at Steyn City School in Midrand.

“And I’m doing art on my days off when I’m at home, to keep myself busy. That’s what I do – I do art. And I’m a good artist – I can draw,” Mothiba grinned.

Asked where his artistic streak came from the striker responded: “I don’t know. I think it’s in my blood, or something like that. But I learnt a lot at school.”

“That’s where I started drawing, and I learned a lot. And now I’m … I’m not yet professional – but I’m good. I draw portraits. Only faces. I’m good with faces.

“I haven’t drawn my teammates. Not yet. But my role model, Balotelli, I have. And Zlatan,” he added.

Mothiba has had a hugely promising start to his Bafana career, revealing an artist’s streak in front of goal on the field too with three goals in his first four games.