Liau breaks si­lence on Likuena

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

FORMER Or­lando Pi­rates and Moroka Swal­lows mid­fielder, Thapelo Liau, has bro­ken his si­lence on long stand­ing claims that he turned down call-ups to play for Likuena dur­ing his play­ing days, de­scrib­ing the re­ports as un­true.

Liau this week told the Le­sotho Times that although he was el­i­gi­ble to play for ei­ther South Africa of Le­sotho on ac­count of the fact that he was born in Soweto to Ba­sotho par­ents, he was a proud Mosotho who would have cho­sen the lat­ter and ev­ery­one in South Africa knew of his roots in the Moun­tain King­dom.

The re­tired mid­fielder who was known for his silky skills at gi­ants, Or­lando Pi­rates, Ria Stars and Bloem­fontein Celtic, said “there was never a time I re­ceived a call-up to play for Le­sotho and I turned it down”.

“I do not re­mem­ber any coach call­ing me to be part of his team and I turned it off,” Liau said.

“I am glad that I fi­nally have a chance to tell the real story and I have never made it a se­cret that Le­sotho is my home and I would have loved to rep­re­sent the coun­try if such an op­por­tu­nity had come but it didn’t.”

Liau said he could have got a chance had the late Ntate April ‘Style’ Phumo re­mained a coach of Likuena when he was at the peak of his ca­reer play­ing for the likes of Ria Stars and Pi­rates.

He how­ever, said he had no re­grets that he never got a chance to play for Likuena and he was happy to have ful­filled his dream of play­ing foot­ball at the high­est level in South Africa.

He said he was re­cruited to the now de­funct former Le­sotho cham­pi­ons, Arse­nal by the late Phumo where he came through the ranks as a 15-year old un­til he re­turned to South Africa.

Liau also played for the then Khu­bet­soana side, The Birds, that cam­paigned in the lower di­vi­sions.

He cited the case of Pa­ballo Mpakanyane who helped se­cure a move to then South African pre­mier league side, Tem­bisa Clas­sic as an ex­am­ple of his com­mit­ment to as­sist­ing Ba­sotho.

“I also al­ways com­mu­ni­cated with Katleho Moleko when he was still in South Africa and helped wher­ever I could but you have to un­der­stand that I am not a coach and can­not sign them for clubs.

“I am not in­volved in coach­ing but I am among a group of leg­ends that work on com­mu­nity projects scout­ing for young tal­ent across South Africa and if a chance presents it­self to help play­ers from Le­sotho I will be happy to do so.”

The 40-year old said the leg­endary former Linare play­maker Thulo Le­boela was his great­est in­spi­ra­tion.

“I en­joyed matches fea­tur­ing Linare and I would go any­where to see him in ac­tion. He was a marvel to watch.

“I still re­spect him and I was hon­oured that he also came to see me in one of the matches dur­ing my still play­ing days.

He also said he watched Likuena dur­ing the re­gional COSAFA Cup in June and he was im­pressed with what he saw.

“I watched them when they lost to Zim­babwe in the COSAFA Cup. They played very well and I was im­pressed with their fight­ing spirit.

“I re­ally think the fu­ture looks bright. It is high time Le­sotho had a pro­fes­sional league. The gov­ern­ment and big com­pa­nies must put more money into the devel­op­ment of foot­ball.

FORMER Or­lando Pi­rates and Moroka Swal­lows mid­fielder Thapelo Liau.

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