Matlama snap up Makhooane

Matlama snap up Makhooane

MASERU – Econet Premier League giants Matlama have snapped up Kananelo Makhooane on loan from rivals Lioli.
The Lesotho international goalkeeper joins Matlama until the end of the season with an option to join permanently at the end of the campaign.
Makhooane’s signing is the first of what is expected to be a busy January transfer window for Matlama as they look to push for a top four finish.
‘Tse Putsoa’ have already released goalkeepers Newman Opara and Litšilo Litšilo to make space for Makhooane.
Matlama also let go of former captain Tšeliso Ramathe as well as promising youngsters Morena Mohlominyane, Rasetebele Kalosane and Selikoe Mokhothu.

Although initially a loan deal, the signing of Makhooane represents something of a coup for Matlama because despite his struggles this season at Lioli, the 25-year-old remains one of Lesotho’s highest rated keepers.
‘Tse Putsoa’ communications and marketing manager Tankiso Moletsane said Matlama are hopeful of completing Makhooane’s signing on a permanent basis when the season ends.

“He is joining us on loan but, of course, we hope we can strike a deal with Lioli to have him on a permanent basis, but for now it is a loan,” Moletsane said.
Makhooane’s talents were unearthed at Likhopo in 2010 and he enjoyed a sterling junior career which included playing a vital role in Lesotho’s qualification for the 2011 CAF African Under-20 Championship.
In August 2015 he joined Lioli but struggled to establish himself at the Teyateyaneng giants with Liteboho Mokhehle cementing himself as the club’s first choice between the sticks.
Makhooane, however, faces another tough battle for the number one jersey at his new club with Matlama’s current first-choice goalkeeper, Monaheng Ramalefane.

Ramalefane is in the form of his life and was last month named goalkeeper of the tournament at the 2017 Mopani Copper Mines COSAFA Under-20 Championships for his excellent performances in inspiring the Makoanyane XI to the final of the regional showpiece.
Even so, Moletsane lauded Makhooane’s signing.

He said the keeper’s arrival will provide much needed competition for Ramalefane.
“(Makhooane) is going to provide competition for Monaheng because at some point we were really worried about who can come in for him should he get injured but with Kananelo we know we have a better option. And (Makhooane) is very experienced, you know he also came through the Under-20 ranks,” Moletsane said.

Moletsane said Makhooane’s addition comes because Matlama are intensifying their efforts to finish at the top end of the Econet Premier League come May. Last season ‘Tse Putsoa’ finished a disappointing eighth in the league.
Moletsane also clarified Ramathe’s departure. The former Lesotho youth international was side-lined for most of the season’s first round as he played second fiddle to Lisema Lebokollane.

Ramathe is now free to join a team of his choice, Moletsane said. “The club has decided not to renew Tšeliso Ramathe’s contract and allowed him to go seek game time elsewhere,” Moletsane said. “But he is welcome to return to the club for a short stint until the end of the season should he struggle to find suitors.”

Moletsane also rubbished reports linking striker Motebang Sera with a move away from Matlama.
Lioli, who hired former Bloemfontein Celtic assistant coach Morena Ramorebodi as head coach last week, are amongst several clubs said to be interested in the Lesotho international. “He still has a contract with the club and we have no intentions of letting him go in this transfer window,” Moletsane said.

Luciah Phahla

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