MASERU — Premier league side FC Likhopo is up for sale.
The side’s owner, Bishop Molatoli, told the Lesotho Times on Monday that he is giving up his beloved team he founded 15 years ago.
Molatoli said he was putting up the side for sale because he was struggling to meet the financial obligations to keep it afloat.
He said he plans to start a football academy to nurture talent across the country.
Likhopo has been run on a shoe-string budget and relies entirely on donations from well-wishers.
The club is among a host of teams in Lesotho without sponsorship.
Molatoli said the decision to sell the club had been a difficult one.
“I want a buyer who can sign a contract binding him to look after Likhopo financially,” Molatoli said.
“(The new owner must be able to) buy jerseys for the players, sign contracts with them and the technical team as well as take care of all their financial needs.”
He said he had toyed with the idea of selling the club over the past two seasons.
Molatoli said this was because the club was struggling to meet its financial obligations.
He said he was spending about M5 200 on transport alone per month.
“We spend M5 200 on transport alone each month and this does not include meals, medical kit and other essentials,” Molatoli said.
He said he wants to ensure that whoever takes over the team is capable of looking after it.
“I need to totally make sure that I get a suitable buyer because I don’t want to regret the decision later in my life.
“I don’t want money. I just want to ensure that it (Likhopo) is in good hands. That’s all I want,” he said.
Molatoli said as soon as he disposes the side he is going to start a football academy to cater for players from the age of eight.
“Soon after selling the team I am retiring from competitive football and will concentrate on developing children from as early as eight,” he said.
He said he intends signing young players with their parents’ consent.
Molatoli said the new law that allows players to join clubs of their choice without transfer fees after three years had seriously affected his club’s viability.
“This new law has affected me financially because we spend almost 10 years developing players and once they are shining stars, other teams take them for free because of the new law.
“I spend as long as 10 years developing the players from a tender age but at end of the day their skills don’t benefit Likhopo.
“We have players in almost every top premier league team who were recruited by these clubs for free,” Molatoli said.
Likhopo was established in 1996 and went on to win back-to-back premier league titles in 2005 and 2006 seasons.
The club’s most recent success came last year when they lifted the Vodacom Soccer Spectacular trophy.
Likhopo’s fortunes have however taken a turn for the worst this season with the former champions currently holding forte at the anchor of the Vodacom Premier League log.
Without most of their experienced star players the side has found the going tough this season.