Sonopo finally secures visa

MASERU — Lioli winger Sonopo ‘Montoeli is finally set to leave for Spain tomorrow after he secured his travel visa.

‘Montoeli sealed a three-year contract with Spanish La Liga giants Atletico Madrid last August but had failed to leave because of visa problems.

The Lioli winger told the Lesotho Times on Tuesday that he was ready to showcase his talent on the European stage.

“I got my letter (from health professional council) yesterday and I am the happiest man right now,” ‘Montoeli said.

The 18-year-old left for Pretoria last night to collect his visa.

“I will arrive there (Pretoria) on Thursday morning (today) and on Friday I am boarding a plane to Spain,” Sonopo told the Lesotho Times on Tuesday.

He said although he was feeling nervous, he was determined to prove his worth when he arrives at Atletico Madrid.

“I am feeling a bit nervous because this is the biggest break of my career and I will be on my own there,” ‘Montoeli said.

“Despite feeling nervous, the only thing on my mind now is to make myself, family, Lioli and Atletico (Madrid) proud by working hard and prove why I was chosen among many talented African players.”

He said he was determined to do well in Spain.

“I really need to focus on my performance and play well because that will get me a regular place in the team,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lioli president Lebohang Thotanyana said they only received a letter from Pretoria confirming that ‘Montoeli’s visa application had been approved just before Christmas.

“We received a letter from the embassy in Pretoria that his visa application had been approved and he must collect it by December 30.

“The letter however said that he must bring along a letter from the health professional council confirming that the doctor who issued his medical fitness is practising and was registered with a legal doctor’s council.

“He has been visiting that office since the day we received the visa confirmation but it (health professional council office) was closed.

“He just got the letter today (Monday) and we’ve agreed with the parents that he leaves on Wednesday night for Pretoria,” Thotanyana said on Monday.

He said that they had already communicated with Atletico Madrid on the developments and the Spanish team had extended his grace period.

“Yes, he was supposed to present himself in Spain by December 31 but we’ve asked for an extension so that all his documents are finalised before he leaves.”

Sonopo becomes the first Mosotho to ply his trade in the lucrative Spanish league. He also becomes Lesotho’s biggest football export to Europe.

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