MASERU — Likhopo are in transfer talks with a Serbian club over their young super-striker Thapelo Tale.
The Vodacom Premier League side had been unaware of Tale’s whereabouts after he went AWOL in early April.
However, it soon emerged he had gone for secret trials with a club in Serbia — a country located in southeastern Europe.
Speaking to the Sunday Express this week, Likhopo manager Qamako Mahao said they had at last made contact with the club, FK Jagodina, and were now negotiating Tale’s possible transfer to Serbia.
FK Jagodina play in the Serbian top-flight league under the tutelage of former Likuena coach Zavisa Milosavljevic.
“He is in Serbia. We are in negotiations with the team. They have sent a proposed contract to sign him,” Mahao said on Thursday.
However, the stumbling block could be that Likhopo only want to loan Tale — who came through the club’s youth system and has represented Lesotho at all national team levels — for an initial one-year period.
FK Jagodina on the other hand want to sign Tale on a three-year deal.
“Our position is that we are willing to go for a short term deal. We are only prepared to loan him for a year to see how he settles (in Serbia),” Mahao said.
Mahao said Likhopo had also proposed a fee for the loan, but he said he couldn’t comment on any figures.
Tale, who made his Likuena debut in 2008, winning five caps and scoring two goals, captained Likhopo towards the end of his stay at the club.
He is one three local players — including Matlama duo Nkau Lerotholi and Thapelo Mokhehle — who Milosavljevic was said to be interested in signing.
Lerotholi left for trials at FK Jagodina last month.
However, Tale’s situation was unclear because the 21-year-old striker didn’t have his club’s blessings.
His departure would hamper Likhopo plans for an assault on the Vodacom Premier League title.
Likhopo were Lesotho’s best team in the middle of the decade winning consecutive Premier League titles in 2004/05 and 2005/06, and the Buddie Top 8 in 2007. But since winning their last championship they have only managed to finish seventh, 11th, sixth and seventh from since then.
Likhopo will welcome back skilful playmaker Tšeliso Sejake after two years at Lerotholi. Also returning are goalkeepers Phoka Matete, who was the star performer in Rovers’ relegation last season, and Lerata Tšalong, the goal-minder during Likhopo’s glory days.
Regarding Likhopo’s prospects for the coming season Mahao said: “I can only have an idea when the whole team is together. It is going to be quite a tough season. One must run away from relegation from the first week of the league season. All I can say is the team that will win the league will be a very strong one.”
Likhopo are yet to begin official pre-season training because the bulk of their players are on duty with Lesotho’s junior national teams Bahlabani and the Makoanyane XI.