Mothiba: It was tough leaving Lille

Players Abroad

Mothiba completed a shock move across France just hours before the transfer deadline day in August, parting ways with the club that initially lured him to Europe.

The burly 22-year-old, however, has shown no sign of struggling to adjust to his new surroundings, having found the back of the net on four occasions in six matches for ‘Le Racing’ thus far.

Mothiba has since explained the particulars of what led to his transfer and credits the warm reception from his new teammates for his immediate impact. 

“I also didn’t expect the move to Strasbourg, but my agent kept calling me telling me that there’s a team interested, and Lille also needed to sell because of the financial situation,” explained the former national Under-23 forward.

“Everyone has welcomed me, and the players have treated me like family. Everyone makes jokes with me at training, and during games they’re always looking to find me.

“I think that’s why I settled in quickly and I’m scoring goals, so it’s amazing. But it was tough leaving Lille, because I’d been there for almost five years. 

“That’s where I started playing in Europe – when I was 18. I played at the Lille Under-19 reserve team, so it was tough having to leave. But, it’s part of my career and I need to move forward, so I did it.”

Despite the move coming as a surprise, Mothiba says new coach Thierry Laurey already understands his style of play and has utilised him to the same effect as his former coach at Lille.

“The reason I’ve hit the ground running is because the style of football suits me – they wanted a striker who makes runs behind the defence,” he added.

“The coach at Strasbourg is also a former teammate of the coach at Lille, so they’ve communicated about me and understand how to use me, and what my strengths and weaknesses are. So that’s helped make it easy for me as well.”