Is Mothiba the razor-sharp striker Bafana have been yearning for?

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South Africa's player Lebo Mothiba (R) is marked by Denmark's Ediegerson Gomes during their Rio 2016 Olympic Games First Round Group A men's football match at the Mane Garrincha Stadium in Brasilia on August 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / EVARISTO SA
South Africa is always complaining about not having strikers scoring goals in Bafana Bafana‚ but in Lebo Mothiba they have a centre-forward coming off of a hat-trick in his previous game.

Mothiba banged three past Orleans in a 4-3 victory in France’s Ligue 2 on Friday evening for his on-loan team Valenciennes‚ then boarded a plane to honour his first Bafana call-up for this coming Saturday’s World Cup qualifier against Burkina Faso at FNB Stadium.

With Bafana’s bulkiest‚ quickest striker‚ Tokelo Rantie‚ mystifyingly dropped by coach Stuart Baxter‚ it seems reassuring to have someone up-front with muscle and who has at least scored a few goals recently for the must-win Russia 2018 Group D game.

“It’s always good to score goals as a striker.

“So for me it was a special day‚” Mothiba said on Tuesday.

“I scored a hat-trick and the following day I had to take a flight and come to South Africa.

“So it was a great thing for me. It was really good.

“Ligue 2 is a good league.

“They are very fast and aggressive and it’s good for youngsters to improve‚ and also get game time and develop yourself.

“I’ll keep working hard and keep on scoring those goals‚ because that’s what you have to do as a striker.”

Playing in France‚ where Mothiba is in his second season on loan at Valenciennes from Ligue 1 Lille OSC‚ the striker will have encountered plenty of West African players‚ which could stand him in good stead against Burkina Faso.

“There are a lot of African players in Ligue 1 and Ligue 2.

“In Burkina Faso there are some players I have played against‚ and their goalkeeper (Herve Koffi) is from Lille‚” Mothiba said.

Mothiba gained valuable international experience starting two of the South African Under-23s’ three games at last year’s Rio Olympics‚ including the 0-0 opening draw against hosts and eventual winners Brazil.

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