Matlama eye Kalake

Matlama eye Kalake

Luciah Phahla

Maseru

Matlama have set their sights on Bantu midfielder Hlompho Kalake as the perfect replacement for club captain Phafa Tšosane, thepost has reliably learnt.

Tšosane’s future at Pitso Ground has been the subject of discussion after the midfielder was spotted at Police Training College earlier this year where he reportedly wrote a police test.

Speculation has since been rife the Lesotho international is set to follow former teammate Nkau Lerotholi who joined Lesotho Mounted Police Service in January.

Speaking in March, ‘Tse Putsoa’ chairman Ikarabele Sello denied Tšosane was on his way out but admitted he was aware of gossip surrounding the player. And, with Tšosane’s future still uncertain, Matlama are said to be eyeing a swoop for Kalake.

Kalake spent three years with Matlama before joining Bantu ahead of the 2013/2014 season where he has blossomed into one of the country’s best players.

Kalake is currently with the national team preparing for next month’s 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier against Ethiopia. The playmaker is also expected to be named in Likuena’s squad for the COSAFA Castle Cup starting on June 11 and sources say Matlama have been heartened in their pursuit of Kalake by the player’s openness to a return to Maseru.

Sources close to the situation also say Bantu’s instability this past season could tempt the promising talent to bolt from Mafeteng.

Bantu went through three coaches during a tumultuous 2015/16 campaign and Kalake is said to be at least intrigued by the prospect of joining a seemingly ascending Matlama side that finished second in the just ended Vodacom Premier League season and boasts a host of rising stars.

‘Tse Putsoa’ are also coached by Moses Maliehe who trains Likuena and gave Kalake his breakthrough for the national Under-20 side in 2013.

Approached for comment, Matlama communications and marketing manager Tankiso Moletsane denied the club has discussed a move for Kalake but he did not shut the door on a possible deal either.

Instead, Moletsane said a Kalake return to ‘Tse Putsoa’ would be akin to the Biblical story of the “prodigal son”.

“There has been no discussion about that but its normal that these rumours will appear during this time. However, remember that Kalake is our former player and Matlama will never shy away from making a move for him. Even if it does happen that he comes back we will make an announcement,” Moletsane added.

“But you should remember that he is still under contract with Bantu, he is a Bantu player. But, like I said, we will not shy away from making a move for him if we want him,” he said.

Kalake started Lesotho’s 2-1 friendly loss away to Botswana last Saturday and his departure would be another devastating blow for ‘A Matšo Matebele’ who just missed out on the top four for the first time in five years.

Bantu communications and marketing manager Motlatsi Mofokeng dismissed any talk of Kalake leaving, however. He said ‘A Matšo Matebele’ are unwilling to lose a player that helped the Mafeteng club to the league title in 2014 and starred in their Independence Cup win last November.

“There is no offer for him or even talks about him leaving the club. Even yesterday I was at the (management) meeting and there was nothing like that discussed, he is still contracted to Bantu,” Mofokeng told thepost Monday.

“No club has approached us. The player himself has not asked to be released; even the club has not shown any interest in releasing him. The club’s committee will communicate with me should anything happen,” he asserted.

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