South Africa international striker Lebo Mothiba netted his third goal in the 2022/23 Ligue 1 campaign and his celebrations emitted that of pure relief against AS Monaco.
Mothiba, 27, has seen his career severely stall due to injury over the past three years, having initially burst onto the scene in the French top-flight with LOSC Lille.
It appeared he would be developing into one of the leading strikers in France when he scored 12 goals in 39 games in his breakout season but it wasn’t part of the script.
Since returning from two separate knee injuries this season, he’s been limited to only two starts for RC Strasbourg, but he managed to find the net three times, the latest was an equaliser at 1-1 against Monaco, but they were on the losing side 4-3 by full-time.
Having first spent time on loan at ESTAC Troyes last season to get back to full fitness, Mothiba has been limited with game time, coming off the bench 14 times this season.
But after a dominant display on Sunday, he will be aiming to win the faith of new head coach Frédéric Antonetti and fire them to safety in the league in the final nine games.
With the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations on the horizon in January, Mothiba will be at a crossroads, should he not become a regular starter again at Strasbourg, but he won’t be short of suitors in France, with his extensive experience since arriving in the country with Lille’s U19 from Diambars Academy back in 2014.
Mothiba was part of the Bafana squad in the 2019 AFCON under then-head coach Stuart Baxter, as has four goals and two assists in his 14 senior international appearances.
Overall he’s amassed 142 appearances in France, with 41 goals and nine assists to his name for Lille, Troyes, Valenciennes and RCSA.