National team striker Thapelo Tale last Sunday bid FC Likhopo farewell as the powerful hitman looks forward to life at South African Premier League side Free State Stars.
Team manager, Qamako Mahao, on Tuesday told the Lesotho Times Tale played his last match for the Maseru-based side at the weekend, which ended 1-0 in favour of army outfit LDF.
Mahao said the deal with Free State Stars was all-but sealed, hence the team’s announcement that the striker had played his last match for the club after Sunday’s tie.
“I can confirm that the two clubs have agreed on the sale of the player and what is only left is for all the parties to sign the paperwork,” Mahao said.
“In fact, had the player not been away with Likuena last week, the paperwork would have been completed by now.
“Even this morning, I was on the phone with the Free State Stars general manager, but agreed we should give the boy time so he can focus on Likuena, as the national team is preparing for an important match against Liberia on Sunday.”
Mahao said Tale impressed Stars during the team’s “several trips” to Lesotho over the past year and also while on national duty.
“We have played Free State Stars a number of times and he gave them a tough time, which impressed the coaches.
“Stars were also impressed with his performance while playing for the national team.”
Mahao insisted Tale’s move would not be bungled the way his Cape Town Santos deal was scuppered last year.
“A lot of things were not handled well, hence the move to Santos never materialised. But Free State Stars are very keen to have Tale on their books and we are definitely releasing the player to them.
“In fact, the striker has already bid farewell to his Likhopo teammates. He said goodbye after our league tie against LDF on Sunday, which was his official farewell match.”
Mahao further said Free State Stars officials would be at Setsoto Stadium on Sunday to watch Tale in action against Liberia’s Lone Stars in an Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier.
Lesotho lost 1-0 to Liberia a fortnight ago in the first leg of the first round of the 2015 Afcon tournament.
“I have invited Stars officials to come over this weekend and watch the player in action for Likuena and possibly, the deal would be concluded then,” he said.
Free State Stars Public Relations Manager, Lebohang Maketa, also confirmed Tale would join the team for pre-season training on June 20.
“We have been in negotiation over Tale and had it not been for his commitments with the national team, he would have signed with us already,” Maketa said.
Maketa also told the Lesotho Times Linare’s influential captain, Mabuti Potloane, had also attracted the attention of the Free State outfit.
“Another player who could be with us for pre-season is Potloane of Linare, although for him, it is not clear whether he will join us next season,” he said.
“Everything will depend on how the coaches will see him during the pre-season preparations, but we are still to hold talks with his team at this stage.”