Lille's Lebogang Mothiba thrilled to get off the mark in France with Valenciennes
Posted: 11 April 2017 Time: 12:20
South Africa U-23 striker Lebogang Mothiba was delighted to score his first professional goal for French second-tier side Valenciennes after recently returning from an injury.
The 21-year-old, who joined The Athenians on loan from Lille in January, scored in his third outing for the club in a 2-0 win over Troyes on Friday.
"It's the greatest thing ever scoring your first goal in France. I have only played like a few games because I just came back from an injury," Mothiba tells KickOff.com from France.
"So it felt great to score. I have good communication with my teammates now. So it felt very nice and I was happy after the game.
"But it was unfortunate that I came here on loan with an injury. The coach [Faruk Hadzibegic] didn't know and he thought I was okay. I trained and it become worse and I was out for another month.
"It was a very bad start as a player and even now I am still recovering, I'm not a hundred percent fit. I still feel some pain when I'm sprinting, shooting. I'm still not hundred percent but it'll get better."
The Tembisa-born hitman hopes to make his Ligue One debut when he returns to Lille at the end of the season where he faces competition for game-time from Portugal's European Championship hero Eder.
"This loan deal will help me a lot because I'm here for game-time, to play and get confidence. Ligue Two is very strong, it's not easy.
"There's a similarity with Ligue 1, it is very physical. So I'm here for game-time, to play and get my confidence and when I go back to Lille I'll go there stronger."
Mothiba was promoted to Lille's first team at the beginning of the campaign after impressing in their development ranks, having initially joined the side from the now-defunct Diambars academy, which was based in Boksburg, Johannesburg.