SA clubs chase Likuena stars

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MAKOANYANE XI striker Tumelo Khutlang tussles for the ball with Mauritius midfielder
Teddy Gael Samy during the Cosafa Under-20 Youth Championship tie at Setsoto
Stadium, in Maseru on December 9

Mikia Kalati

SOUTH African clubs, Platinum Stars and Mthatha Bucks are both eyeing the services of Likuena stars including the in-form Lioli winger Tumelo Khutlang after their fine displays at the recently-ended COSAFA tournament in Rustenburg, South Africa.

The Likuena stars impressed as Lesotho improved on last year’s showing by reaching the semi-finals where they narrowly lost 3-4 to eventual champions, Zimbabwe.

A Lesotho Football Association official who was part of the Likuena delegation at the tournament told the Lesotho Times that premiership side, Platinum Stars were impressed by Khutlang and his teammates, Tšoanelo Koetle, Mafa Moremoholo and Bokang Sello.

The official said South African National First Division team, Mthatha Bucks were also interested in Khutlang and had made contact with him over the player. They now needed to make an offer to Lioli.

Khutlang played all the three games for Likuena and was voted the Man of the Match in the third and fourth place penalty loss to Tanzania.

The winger along with Koetle are also on demand locally after Lioli confirmed receiving offers from bitter rivals Bantu for their services.

“It is still early days but the management of Platinum Stars enquired about the players saying they are interested in them,” the official said.

“We told them that all four players belong to one team and gave them contacts to talk to the Lioli management and the representatives of the players.

“As for Khutlang, Mthatha Bucks are also interested and their officials have arranged to talk to those that are close to the player.

“These players are hungry to play in better leagues and make a better living. I hope their team will not stand in their way.

“The officials that approached us about them were very serious and they have not stopped calling even after we left Rustenburg,” he said.

Lioli president, Lebohang Thotanyana also confirmed they had been approached by South African teams.

“Indeed, we have been approached by South African teams that have shown interest in our players, but I cannot disclose the names at this stage,” Thotanyana said.

“We will meet them next week and listen to what they have to offer before we can engage the players in negotiations,” he said.

The Lesotho Times has also learnt that Thabiso Brown who was being assessed by Bloemfontein Celtic has since left South Africa for trials in Bolivia.

Brown requested Celtic that he be permitted to try his luck in Bolivia and it is unlikely that a deal will materialise at the Free State side who have since appointed a new coach from Serbia.

The Serbian takes over from interim coach and former Likuena captain Lehlohonolo Seema who had recommended Brown to the club after the striker netted 16 league goals in the 2016/17 domestic campaign.

Kick4Life Director of Football, Chris Bullock confirmed that their former striker had requested permission from Celtic to try his luck in Bolivia.

Brown is out of contract at Kick4Life, but will give the club first option to re-sign him if a move outside the country does not materialise.

“Seema has informed me that he asked for permission from Celtic where he was also being assessed,” Bullock said.

“We have learnt that they were impressed with him and we hope they do not close the door on him if it does not work out in Bolivia,” he said.

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