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Tale issue needs to be handled with care

by Lesotho Times


MikiaMikia Kalati

Premier league side Likhopo have vowed to punish star-striker Thapelo Tale for training with Bantu and playing for the Mafeteng giants in the recent friendly match against Free State Stars at Setsoto Stadium.

The Red Army claim by so doing, the player committed the cardinal sin since he is still contracted to them, while Tale has told Bantu that he is a free agent at liberty to join a club of his choice.

Of course, any team would feel hard-done if their top-player decides to leave while he still has a running contract with them.

I don’t want to be caught-up in the slanging match that has been sparked by Tale’s decision to seek greener pastures in Mafeteng, but my suggestion is for the two teams to do what is right for the player.

Tale is a national treasure whose lengthy ban from the game due to this wrangling would negatively impact on the Lesotho team facing qualification battles on three fronts—African Nations Championship (CHAN), Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) and World Cup—over the next few months.

I will never support teams that poach contracted players without consulting their clubs first and if it is true that Tale still has a contract with Likhopo, it was wrong for Bantu to allow the player to train with them as well as donning their colours in the friendly against Free State Stars a fortnight ago.

As far as Tale and Likhopo are concerned, it is an open secret that all has not been well between the two parties for some time now.

It is also a well-known fact that the team was unhappy with the striker last season after he failed to turn-up for training yet was available for the national squad.

From what I have seen, it is clear Tale wants a new challenge after years at Likhopo and the Red Army should just swallow their pride and agree on a deal for the want-away striker.

Like I said, Tale is an important member of the national team, Likuena, and I believe his services would be desperately needed when Lesotho wade into international football whose first fixture is next month against none other than Algeria—the Number One-ranked team on the continent—in a make-or-break 2017 AFCON qualifier.

Tale recently returned from injury and played an important role as Likuena snatched a crucial away goal against Botswana last month in the CHAN first round qualifier, which enabled Likuena to advance to the next round of the continental showcase.

This is why I feel a six-month suspension Likhopo have threatened to slap on Tale for his Bantu adventure will not do him any good considering the many disappointments due to injury, he has had to endure in his career.

I was one of those people who wanted to see the player securing a contract outside the country last year after he went for trials at Free State Stars in South Africa.

However, coaching changes at the Free State-based outfit did not do him any good as the new man in charge decided Tale was not what he was looking for and in the end, the player’s dream of playing in South Africa went up in smoke.

In fact, Bantu and Likhopo management should have already met to find the best way of resolving Tale’s issue without public statements that can only be harmful to the career of one of Lesotho’s greatest players.


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