This is our second player feature of the season. Check back each week to get to know members of the 2011 Menace.
With or without a vuvuzela, Lebogang “Tsunami” Moloto continues to make noise for the Des Moines Menace.
The South African has picked up where he left off in 2010. He scored the first goal of the season, helping the Menace top St. Louis, 2-1, last Saturday night.
Rival St. Louis is back in town for a 7:30 p.m. rematch this Saturday, when the first 300 fans through the Valley Stadium gates receive a free vuvuzela. Moloto, a midfielder, gives an insider’s tip to playing the popular soccer noisemaker.
“You have to make sure that you have a full breath before blowing, otherwise you will pass-out,” explained Moloto.
The vuvuzela gained worldwide popularity during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, but Moloto has known this instrument for years.
“I love the vuvuzela. Being from South Africa, you hear other people complain that it’s annoying, but to me it’s our culture. It’s a way to communicate nonverbally and to show excitement for when you score a goal,” Moloto said.
From South Africa to Des Moines, the vuvuzela and Moloto have both made their way into the hearts of Menace fans.
“I think it’s beautiful here. The people are fair and nice. It’s not as big as compared to my town in South Africa. It’s always good to come out every Saturday and see the fans; it reminds me of home,” said Moloto, the Most Outstanding Offensive Player of the 2009 NAIA Division I National Championship, won by his Lindsey Wilson College (Ky.) Blue Raiders.
This featured player has become comfortable with the Des Moines Menace, returning for his second season.
“I love the fans, the staff and the way the organization is run. Everybody is always professional.”
Moloto played a large role in the offense for Des Moines last season. He scored five goals in 2010, tying Clark Bradford and Logan McDaniel for the team lead. Two of Moloto’s goals came against St. Louis.
In last Saturday’s opening-night win over the Lions, Moloto reminded opponents and fans of his offensive flair by scoring on a diving header for the first Menace goal of the season. The goal came 11 minutes into the second half to tie the score 1-1.
“There’s a good feeling to score a goal in the first game of the season. It felt awesome,” said Moloto.
Moloto has a chance to score against St. Louis again. Gates open Saturday night at 6:30 p.m.
Moloto pays tribute to his native country's noise maker, the vuvuzela.
Hometown: Polokwane, South Africa
College: Lindsey Wilson College
Position: Right midfielder
Pre-game rituals: Pray before every game.
Coach Calloway quote: “Together we stand, divided we fall.”