No Amajita camp for Mahlambi

BidVest Wits attacking Phakamani Mahlambi. Picture credits: Gallo Images
BidVest Wits attacking Phakamani Mahlambi. Picture credits: Gallo Images

Bidvest Wits will not release star player Phakamani Mahlambi to the national under-20 team for their upcoming camp to prepare for next month's U20 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament in Zambia.

Mahlambi was named in Amajita's 31-man squad for a preparation camp starting Thursday.

Amajita are scheduled to play a friendly international against Zambia on February 8, a day after Wits play Ajax Cape Town in the Absa Premiership.

The Clever Boys are hoping to win the league title this season and coach Gavin Hunt would like to have the speedy Mahlambi in his side to challenge the likes of SuperSport United, Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns for the coveted prize.

As the U20 Afcon does not fall under the Fifa calender, clubs are not obliged to release players, which could be a problem for coach Thabo Senong.

Wits play Sundowns a day before the eight-team continental competition kicks off on February 26.

"He is staying with us," an adamant Hunt said yesterday, when asked if Mahlambi would be joining the squad for camp on Thursday.

Mahlambi, 19, returned from a long lay-off last month and immediately showed his star quality with a brace against Free State Stars in a 3-1 victory.

"The boy is still coming from injury. He has to get fit and [get] his speed back," said Hunt.

Senong had the club-versus-country drama before the Cosafa Cup in Moruleng last month.

He did well to reach the final of the competition without SuperSport United players, who were not released because they were playing in the Multichoice Diski Challenge.

It remains unclear if SuperSport will be releasing the players this time round, who include Mondi Mpoto and Khanyisa Mayo.

Stan Matthews, director of sport at the club, was not available for comment.

Speaking to Sowetan last week about the possibility of not getting some players for the camp, Senong said: "It's still a process. Let's see who reports to camp on Thursday."

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