Marabe plans to move to top Asian clubs      



MASERU – After an impressive performance in the Indian Kerala Premier League, Litšepe Marabe has set his eyes on a move to one of the top clubs in Asia. Marabe is currently in the books of Basco FC, in the Kerala Premier League in India. Though Kerala Premier League is a professional football league, it is one of the fourth-tier divisions by the state football leagues, organised by regional state associations under All India Football Federation (AIFF)’s affiliation in the Indian league tier pyramid.

The Indian top-flight football league is the Indian Super League, followed by I-League and I-League 2nd Division, while all the Indian state leagues are fourth-tier divisions.   There are currently a total of 37 state associations affiliated with the AIFF. Marabe, whose three-month contract with Basco FC expires at the end of this month, is hopeful that he will secure a move to one of the Indian top division clubs on the Asian continent.

The Lesotho international player made three appearances in the Kerala Premier League since he joined Basco FC in February this year, in which he started in two league matches and came on as a substitute in one match and netted three goals. He scored in his first game and assisted in another goal after he came on as a substitute in a 2-2 draw against Parapprur.

Marabe scored his second goal and third in the following matches against AIFA Koppam and against FC Kerala respective. Basco FC hammered AIFA Koppam 5-0 before stunning FC Kerala 3-0 in a Kerela derby, as Basco and the latter are from the same state of Kerala in India. This after Marabe was forced to miss seven previous league matches out of 10 due to problems with registration where it took a long time to register a foreign player, as was expected.

“I am ready to play in any of the top division leagues here,” Marabe told Public Eye. “With my experience of playing in Asia so far, I can play anywhere here on the Asian continent.” Marabe further said: “We (he and with his agent) are already looking for clubs in Japan, Nepal and Bangladesh. Here I am talking about the clubs who are campaigning in their respective premier leagues.”

The former Lesotho and Botswana premiership player said he would not waste his time playing for the Indian lower ranking clubs forever, saying the reason why he began there was just to try and establish himself in India and Asia as a whole. Marabe reiterated: “There are also other teams with some of the top divisions here where I can play. “I will not keep on playing in the lower divisions here; a player of my standard, quality and skills.”

The Lesotho-born player said he had proved himself in the Kerela Premier League with the three games he played in the colours of Basco FC in the just-ended season. Basco FC finished the 2021-22 season sitting on second spot on the 11-team Kerala Premier League log table. Marabe’s team qualified for the promotional play-offs and lost 2-1 to KSEB Trivandrum. He came on as a late substitute in this game, four minutes before the final whistle.

This was his fourth game in total in the colours of Basco FC, which however he does not count that much after he came on in the dying minutes of the game. “I have already proved myself with the three goals in three matches and I think many teams have seen my effort.” Marabe further said: “Now we are looking for offers and I need to be calm so that I would be able to choose an offer which would better suit me.”

Before he joined Basco FC, Marabe thought he qualified to play in the Indian Super League, only to realise later that it would not be possible for any player from Lesotho to play in the India top-flight league because of their country’s low FIFA rankings, among other factors.

“When I first knew about the Indian football, I only knew about the Super League. I knew nothing about the Kerala leagues and others,” Marabe said. “The problem is with my football CV. I must have played in the AFCON (Africa Cup of Nations) tournament, amongst other requirements, for me to qualify for the Indian Super League.” Marabe said the only respect he still got in India was for playing in the World Cup qualifiers with Likuena.

“I still get some respect for playing in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers. But still, the India top-flight league is played by the rejects from top-flight leagues in Spain, including A and B divisions of Spain and players from other countries who have good football CVs.” Marabe also said even players from the South African top-flight league, DSTV Premeirship, also qualify to play in the Indian Super League. “But it was not easy for me to play in the Indian Super League or in other top divisions because things are done in a professional way here. That’s why I had to start in the lower divisions.

“It’s tough but now that I am here things will be easy for me because now I have a record or CV of playing in one of the Indian leagues including the fact that I am an international player from another country and not just a player.” Marabe added: “For example, there are many players from Nigeria, Congo and Cameroon, some of them are my teammates here, and all of them had never represented their countries before.”

But Marabe said all those players qualified to play in the Indian Super League because of their countries’ FIFA rankings. Marabe joined Basco FC from the Lesotho former champions, Bantu, two months ago.

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