'Mothiba can be fan hero', says Strasbourg boss
South Africa international striker Lebo Mothiba has "everything to become a fan favourite" at RC Strasbourg-Alsace, says coach Thierry Laurey.
Mothiba filled a sizeable gap in the Strasbourg attack when he joined from Lille late in the summer transfer window.
The 22-year-old has "impressed by how quickly he has settled in", according to Strasbourg president Marc Keller, with four goals and an assist in just six league appearances — only three of which have been starts.
"He puts in a shift, but does it with great intelligence," Laurey told L'Equipe. "He has a lot of room for improvement, and has everything to become a fan favourite."
The Johannesburg-born Mothiba had started the season promisingly alongside Jonathan Bamba and Nicolas Pepe at Lille, but has slotted in just as seamlessly at Strasbourg, quickly building an understanding with teammates such as Nuno Da Costa.
WATCH: Mothiba scores twice in Angers draw
"There are also the things that aren't counted, but are just as important," added Laurey. "For example, against Amiens, when Kenny Lala crossed the ball, he made the right run to take his defender with him to allow [Benjamin] Corgnet to score. Lebo feels the game, always offers the right solutions, works defensively and contributes a technical prowess that we sometimes lacked up front."
It has been a remarkable rise for the powerful former Mamelodi Sundowns forward, who spent the first half of last season on loan to Domino's Ligue 2 side Valenciennes only to be recalled in January with Lille struggling in the top flight.
"I had some tough times at home," said Mothiba, who was sidelined for almost a year with an ankle injury in his native country. "So it's a blessing for me to be able to play in Europe. I enjoy every moment, in training and during games."