The captain of the University of Johannesburg (UJ) senior men’s football team which finished with silver medals in the 2022 FNB Varsity Football tournament has joined NB LA Masia. This follows his tremendous hardwork and confidence in spearheading the team into the finals of the varsity students’ football tournament and in top two of the SAB Blue Stream League earlier this year.
Lebopa was born and raised in Mamokgadi, a village in the Limpopo Province. He made his La Masia debut in a first league match against JDR Stars on 02 September 2022, starting with a positive 2-0 win.
“It’s a great experience and a wonderful environment. Playing at this level will definitely add to my growth,” says the BSc Construction graduate.
Lebopa’s football journey started when he joined Tshepo Academy in his village at the age of 13. He then went on to join Witbank Spurs Academy, Kaizer Chiefs Development and Pele Pele FC until he joined NB LA MASIA.
He joined UJ men’s football team in 2018 and won the 2021 FNB Varsity Football tournament with the team. This, he says, has boosted his confidence in playing competitive football.
Speaking on some of the challenges he faced as a student-athlete, Lebopa says, “I have been trying to balance getting enough game time, playing professional football and completing my honors degree in Construction Project Management.”
Upon playing in the final matches of the men’s and women’s FNB Varsity Football tournaments, both Lebopa and Sphumelele Shamase were invited to join Cape Town City FC in Cape Town from the 30th of October to the 3rd of November 2022. With all accommodation, meals, flights and transport costs covered by the bank, Shamase and Lebopa needed just their travel bags and soccer boots to train at the Hartleyvale and DHL Stadium.
At the stadium, the the UJ players were treated to a locker room tour, meet and greet with players and coach and watching the team’s match at the FNB VIP lounge on 2 November.
Shamase won the 2022 FNB Varsity Football women’s Player of the Tournament after a stellar performance in the tournament.