Tsepo Masilela of Kaizer Chiefs and Phakamani Mahlambi of Bidvest Wits battle for possession during Absa Premiership 2015/16 game between Kaizer Chiefs and Bidvest Wits at Cape Town Stadium on 19 December 2015 ©Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix
Wednesday Feb 22, 2017. 12:30
Ahead of the 2017 U20 Africa Cup of Nations, the battle between club and country to release players has began in South Africa.
Information doing the rounds is that Bidvest Wits are reluctant in releasing Phakamani Mahlambi who has been called up for the junior tournament in Zambia starting this weekend.
According to Kick-Off.com, SAFA CEO Dennis Mumble has warned that he will take action against the Clever Boys club should they fail to release striker.
It is reported that Gavin Hunt's side has decided to withhold the player, citing reasons that the tournament is not under the FIFA calendar.
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However, to Mumble, the national team service will always take precedence over club commitments, and threatened swift action against the Absa Premiership title chasers.
“We have included [Mahlambi] in the [Under-20 squad] and we expect the club [Wits] is going to release that player,” said Mumble.
“We have already notified the club that we will take action against them, should they not release the player.
"The bottom line is that the national team takes priority over club commitments, and we are not going to budge on that."
“This is the thing that a lot of clubs tend to fall back on, this FIFA calendar. SAFA is the one that proposed this international football calendar,” stated Mumble.
“If you recall back in ’98, ’99, we made that proposal to FIFA, so we know what the purpose behind that calendar is.
“It is for FIFA to protect its senior World Cup, therefore it only sets aside seven days out of the year.”
The Clever Boys are currently chasing their first league title and will meet Baroka FC on Wednesday night as they hope to return to the top of the log table.