MASERU – Lioli starlet Montoeli Sonopo could soon be rubbing shoulders with world-class players such as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
It has emerged Lioli are in discussions with La Liga giants Atletico Madrid over a possible move for the Lesotho Under-20 international.
Speaking to the Lesotho Times yesterday Tse Nala’s president, Lebohang Thotanyana, said discussions were at an advanced stage.
“At the moment we are considering their offer,” Thotanyana said. “It’s promising because they are happy to meet our requirements and we are happy to sign the contract,” he said.
Lioli wanted to conclude the deal before the end of the month to allow Sonopo enough time to get his Spanish visa.
“We want to conclude the deal before the end of this month because it will take three months to get a visa. The target is for him to have everything in place by August when the transfer window closes,” Thotanyana said.
Sonopo however won’t be able to be part of Atletico’s first team because he is under the age of 18.
“He will only be 18 in January. Atletico Madrid will keep him in their reserve structures until then,” Thotanyana said.
Sonopo was spotted after impressing at a 10-day trial camp in Douala, Cameroon, attended by players from all over Africa last November.
Scouts from Europe’s top clubs such as Olympique Marseille, Lille, Lyon, Sevilla, Malaga, Celta Vigo, Sporting de Braga and Atletico Madrid were present at the trials.
The trials were a result of Lioli’s contacts with Fifa accredited agent Olivier Noah who works for talent scouting agency Noga Sports Management based in Cameroon.
Lioli have been working with Noah in organising Sonopo’s proposed move to one of the world’s top leagues.
The 17 year-old speed merchant has enjoyed a breakthrough in the past 12 months.
His performances for relegated Nyenye Rovers last season earned him a big money move to his hometown team Lioli in September.
Sonopo was then part of the Makoanyane XI squad which qualified for next year’s Caf African Youth Championships.
He also featured in the national Under-17 team’s unsuccessful qualifying campaign.
The player is set to be part of Lesotho’s squad at the Caf African Youth Championships in South Africa from 18 April to 1 May.
If the negotiations and paperwork are successful Sonopo will be the first player from Lesotho’s premiership to join a top European league.