FORMER Orlando Pirates and Moroka Swallows midfielder, Thapelo Liau, has broken his silence on long standing claims that he turned down call-ups to play for Likuena during his playing days, describing the reports as untrue.
Liau this week told the Lesotho Times that although he was eligible to play for either South Africa of Lesotho on account of the fact that he was born in Soweto to Basotho parents, he was a proud Mosotho who would have chosen the latter and everyone in South Africa knew of his roots in the Mountain Kingdom.
The retired midfielder who was known for his silky skills at giants, Orlando Pirates, Ria Stars and Bloemfontein Celtic, said “there was never a time I received a call-up to play for Lesotho and I turned it down”.
“I do not remember any coach calling me to be part of his team and I turned it off,” Liau said.
“I am glad that I finally have a chance to tell the real story and I have never made it a secret that Lesotho is my home and I would have loved to represent the country if such an opportunity had come but it didn’t.”
Liau said he could have got a chance had the late Ntate April ‘Style’ Phumo remained a coach of Likuena when he was at the peak of his career playing for the likes of Ria Stars and Pirates.
He however, said he had no regrets that he never got a chance to play for Likuena and he was happy to have fulfilled his dream of playing football at the highest level in South Africa.
He said he was recruited to the now defunct former Lesotho champions, Arsenal by the late Phumo where he came through the ranks as a 15-year old until he returned to South Africa.
Liau also played for the then Khubetsoana side, The Birds, that campaigned in the lower divisions.
He cited the case of Paballo Mpakanyane who helped secure a move to then South African premier league side, Tembisa Classic as an example of his commitment to assisting Basotho.
“I also always communicated with Katleho Moleko when he was still in South Africa and helped wherever I could but you have to understand that I am not a coach and cannot sign them for clubs.
“I am not involved in coaching but I am among a group of legends that work on community projects scouting for young talent across South Africa and if a chance presents itself to help players from Lesotho I will be happy to do so.”
The 40-year old said he legendary former Linare playmaker Thulo Leboela was his greatest inspiration.
“I enjoyed matches featuring Linare and I would go anywhere to see him in action. He was a marvel to watch.
“I still respect him and I was honoured that he also came to see me in one of the matches during my still playing days.
He also said he watched Likuena during the regional COSAFA Cup in June and he was impressed with what he saw.
“I watched them when they lost to Zimbabwe in the COSAFA Cup. They played very well and I was impressed with their fighting spirit.
“I really think the future looks bright. It is high time Lesotho had a professional league. The government and big companies must put more money into the development of football.