Likhopo have threatened to finally impose a six-month ban on want-away striker Thapelo Tale, who is yet to report for training this season despite being advised to do so by the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA).
Tale and Likhopo have been at loggerheads since pre-season when the striker played for Bantu in a friendly match against South Africa’s Free State Stars. The player claimed he was now a free agent and could join a team of his choice, while Likhopo insisted the 27-year-old still had one season left on his three-year contract with the premiership outfit.
Tale has been with Likhopo since 2007 and briefly played for FK Srem in Serbia in the 2011/12 season.
According to Likhopo team manager, Qamako Mahao, LeFA had advised the national team striker to return to the club and resolve his differences with management since his contract only expires at the end of the 2015/16 season. LeFA had been invited to mediate in the contract dispute when the football mother-body made the recommendation, Mahao added.
“Tale was ordered to return to Likhopo by LeFA but he has not done so to this day. We had agreed as management, not to impose the six-month suspension after an appeal from members of the public who regard him as a national asset,” Mahao said on Tuesday.
Mahao said the club was ready to give Tale a second chance and bury the hatchet.
“We were ready to give him a chance to get his career back on track provided he reported for training and maybe he would even find himself back in the team in no time,” said Mahao.
“Unfortunately, he has not come back and we will certainly impose the punishment now.
“Even if he returns now, he has to face the music for disrespecting the team as we have to maintain discipline among the players.”
Because of the feud, Tale was excluded from the national team which faced Algeria early this month in a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
The speedy forward is also unlikely to make the squad for the two-legged 2018 World Cup qualifier against the Comoros to be played on 8 and 13 October away and at home, respectively.
Asked about the feud with his boyhood club, Tale said he was still waiting for LeFA to make a decision on the issue.
“There is nothing I can do at this stage since LeFA are handling the issue, but my football is suffering because I have not been able to play for the national team,” Tale said.
“I have been training on my own and will wait for the association to make the final decision on the matter.
“I made a request to leave because I felt it was time to start afresh.”
LeFA officials would not comment on the issue on Tuesday and said they could only do so once the mediation was through.