Mathumo’s Moroccan malaise

Portia Mlilo
IMPRESSIVE START: Seakanyeng against AS Sale

Knee injury derails defender’s North African adventure

One of the country’s three ‘Moroccan musketeers’, Simisani Mathumo has endured a nightmare start to his North African adventure.

Since leaving for Morocco in November, the 29-year-old has managed just 45 minutes of competitive action for his new club, First Division side, Olympique Club de Khouribga (OCK).

For over a month, the national team defender has been forced to watch from the sidelines after picking up a nasty knee injury in a training game just before Christmas.

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In an exclusive interview with Voice Sport this week, a frustrated Mathumo admitted the knock has ‘messed up his plans’.

Mathumo's Moroccan malaise
FRUSTRATED: Mathumo has only managed 45 minutes of first-team action

According to the former Township Rollers stalwart, prior to his departure from Botswana, he spent 14 days without training as he was busy preparing for the life-changing trip.

The two-week layoff affected his waistline and meant he arrived in Morocco slightly heavier than his usual weight.

As such, Mathumo struggled in his debut and was substituted at half-time suffering from exhaustion.

“After the game, in which we lost 1-0, coach advised me to shed 5kg. He told me I would miss two games and then he would consider selecting me in the third game.”

However, just as he began to regain his old sharpness, Mathumo injured his knee in a practice match, putting paid to the coach’s plans.

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“This is really frustrating me because I came here to work and now I watch the game on television. I am currently on a diet to avoid gaining weight because I am nursing my injury and I cannot exercise,” continued the Shashe native, who is currently working with the team’s physiotherapist and is hopeful he will return to light training sometime next week.

Mathumo's Moroccan malaise
OUCH: Mathumo’s injured knee

On a more positive note, Mathumo described the hospitality at the new club as ‘good’, adding OCK has welcomed him and his fellow ‘musketeers’ – Kabelo Seakanyeng and Tumisang Orebonye – with open arms.

“We feel at home already!” he said simply, telling Voice Sport he spent the festive break chilling with his two compatriots at their shared home in Khouribga.

“Just like in Botswana, there is a curfew here from 9 pm,” disclosed the tough-tackling center-back.

In stark contrast to Mathumo’s slow start, both Seakanyeng and Orebonye have hit the ground running in Morocco.

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Seakanyeng in particular has caught the eye, the 27-year-old midfielder scoring three times in his five outings to date.

The pair started in OCK’s most recent encounter, a 2-2 draw with AS Sale on Saturday. The point means that after six games, OCK sits 8th in the incredibly tight 16-team league, just three points off top spot.

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