..influential captain says he has not even thought of leaving his boyhood club despite being slapped with indefinite suspension a fortnight ago.
Suspended Linare captain, Mabuti Potloane, has dismissed “rumors” that he was leaving the Hlotse-based outfit next month, for either Lioli or Matlama.
The talented attacking midfielder has been the subject of intense debate since his suspension two weeks ago for alleged indiscipline, alongside star-defender Kopano Motaung.
Potloane has been a very instrumental player for Linare over the past three years, helping the team win the 50th King’s Birthday Cup and TJ Glass and Aluminum tournaments last year. The midfielder also helped Linare finish third in the Premier League last season, and has emerged to be one of Lesotho’s finest players of his generation.
However, the midfielder, who is also a member of the national team, told the Sunday Express he was still very much a member of Linare and had not even thought of leaving his home club, despite the suspension.
“I have not even thought of leaving Linare; whatever might have been said about it is just rumour. But that is all I can say at the moment because this is the first time I am hearing that there is such a rumour doing the rounds.”
Potloane added he would like to “forget” about football during this December break, and hopes to come back much stronger and focused when the second round of the 2014/15 Vodacom Premier League season resumes next month. The first round of the programme ended last weekend, and things have not been going on well for Freese Ntene’s charges, despite their strong finish last term. Linare ended last season in third position and analysts had tipped them for honours this season. However, the team has struggled for form this season, leading to unrest in the stands and also the dressing room. However, Potloane says he would be waiting patiently to learn his fate when his disciplinary hearing gets underway this week.
“It is already Christmas, so I will be spending some quality time with friends and family while also trying to forget about football for a while. I will come back more refreshed when the second round resumes, and we are told this could be in January,” said Potloane.
Linare vice-president, Tankiso Sehlabaka, also told the Sunday Express their prized asset had not indicated he wanted to leave the club.
“I have also heard that talk, but until now, it’s just rumour because none of those two teams has approached us regarding the services of Potloane,” he said.
However, Sehlabaka added Potloane and Motaung’s disciplinary hearing would be this week.
“I am not sure if we can even call it a hearing as such but we have a general team meeting on Sunday (today) so were planning to meet with the two players after that meeting, during the course of the week,” he said.
Sehlabaka also said the club’s Communication and Marketing Manager, Teboho Ntoane, had resigned following Linare’s 0-1 loss to Lioli last weekend. After the loss, angry supporters attacked the management and took away the team’s kit and other belongings.
However, Sehlabaka said the management had managed to convince Ntoane to stay with the team until a replacement has been found.
“Ntoane handed in his resignation this week. He had mentioned earlier this year that he wanted to leave, citing his work commitments. We had managed to convince him to stay until our last weekend’s loss to Lioli, which saw some of our supporters attacking management and taking the team’s belongings such as playing kit
“From what I heard, certain players had some angry exchanges with him after the match so that could be one of the reasons why he has decided to go. Fortunately, we have managed to convince him to stay with us, at least until we find his replacement,” Sehlabaka said.
“This has been one of those tough seasons for us as a team but I just want to assure our supporters that the decisions we take as management, are in the best interest of the team not individuals. We are all hoping to see this team prosper and believe we can do it if we work together without unnecessary conflicts.”
Sehlabaka also told the Sunday Express that the club would be taking legal action against those who looted the team’s belongings.
The Up Greens, as Linare are affectionately known, have won five and lost eight matches and currently occupy eighth position on the 14-team Premier League table.