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Sonopo seeks fresh start

Shoes MokhothuMikia Kalati

MASERU — Former Lesotho youth international, Montoeli Sonopo, wants to pick-up the pieces and put his career back on track after his dream move to Spanish giants Atletico Madrid collapsed two years ago. The talented diminutive winger hardly featured for Lioli last season and told this paper that he decided to put his studies in first place.

The youngster has struggled to be his old self since returning back home from the Spanish capital, but says he has healed and is ready to revive his career. “I learned the hard way during the failed move with Atletico Madrid that football can be a cruel career and decided to go back to school to finish my COSC,” Sonopo said. The attacking midfielder said he still does not know how the move to the Spanish team collapsed as he was only told to return home.

“It really hurt. All I remember was the Madrid’s officials telling me to return home and the whole process nearly destroyed me,” he said. The 20-year-old speedy winger said he nearly gave up on football upon his return home. “It took a lot of soul-searching after I came back home and that is when I decided that I should finish my high school,” said Sonopo. “I realised that I should have something to fall on once my playing days are over because a career in football can be very cruel.”

Sonopo who has recently been given the task to captain the national Under-20 team said he is hopeful that new Lioli coach, Mosholu ‘Shoes’ Mokhothu will help him rediscover the form that made him attract the attention of international scouts some years back. The youngster said he was not happy with his contribution last season as Lioli won the league title.

“What I can tell you is that soccer fans will see the best of the old Montoeli Sonopo in the new season,” Sonopo said.

“I feel that I’m mentally and physical ready to revive my career and help Lioli defend the league title.” He said his focus is playing well for his team and is not under pressure to try and get another move to play outside the country. “I was hurting a lot in the past year, but I’m fine now and want to enjoy my football again,” said Sonopo.

The youngster said age is still on his side and has enough time to get another crack at the bigger leagues in Europe.

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