Safa warns Wits over Mahlambi call-up

The tug-of-war between Safa and Bidvest Wits is continuing after the club said they would not release striker Phakamani Mahlambi for the U-20 Africa Cup of Nations tourney in Zambia starting on Sunday.

Wits said they were not obliged to release the 19-year-old because the tournament doesn't fall under the Fifa calendar. Safa, however, has threatened to take action against the club if they don't release Mahlambi for the tournament.

"We have included him in the list and we expect the club to release that player. We have already notified the club that we are going to take action should they not release the player," Safa CEO Dennis Mumble said yesterday.

"The bottom line is, the national team takes priority over club commitments and we are not going to budge on that. There is no other club in the league that has resisted, and so, whichever club is responsible for holding players back we are going to act on it and believe me, we are acting on it as we speak."

Wits chief executive Jose Ferreira, however, stuck with the club's earlier version that they were not releasing Mahlambi because the tournament doesn't fall under the Fifa calendar.

"I'm done talking about Mahlambi. My position is clear as per my correspondence with Safa."

Meanwhile, Wits will be looking to go top of the Absa Premiership log when they host bottom side Baroka at Bidvest Stadium tonight (7.30pm).

On paper, the Clever Boys are expected to walk over the Limpopo side, but Baroka defender Mzwanele Mahashe has warned that's easier said than done.

Despite the suspension of head coach Jacob Sakala, Mahashe said they were not affected by the boardroom problems. Kgoloko Thobejane, who was coach during the first half of the season, will be on the bench tonight.

"It was not difficult for us to adjust because we know Kgoloko very well. We are professional and things that are done behind closed doors are not our problem," he said.

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