Mamelodi Sundowns attacker Phakamani Mahlambi has got to be one of the unluckiest footballers in the world. In 2015, he helped the South African U23 team to qualify to the Rio Olympics in Brazil when they finished third at the AFCON U23 tournament in Senegal. But unfortunately, he missed out on the tournament after he was sidelined by a long term injury.
In 2017, he helped Amajita to reach the FIFA U20 World Cup in South Korea but again he missed out after he got injured playing for his then club Bidvest Wits.
Mahlambi was supposed to be part of the SA U23 squad which left on Monday afternoon for the Olympic qualification tournament in Egypt but an injury sustained against Chippa United in the Telkom Knockout match on Sunday has ruled him out of the tournament again according to head coach David Notoane.
Notoane and his technical team only left with 13 players for Egypt and they will be joined on Tuesday by captain Tercious Malepe after he was sent-off in on Sunday game against Sundowns.
Chippa United were initially refusing to release him but the suspension works to the national team’s favour. Notoane sounded happy to have his captain for the opening game.
SA open their tournament against neighbours Zambia on Saturday evening, they are in Group B with defending champions Nigeria and Ivory Coast. Group A consists of the hosts Egypt, Cameroon, Mali and Ghana.
The top three countries at the tournament qualify to the Tokyo Olympics next year. Notoane remains hopeful that he could have at least two more players after the midweek Absa Premiership fixtures.
The good news is that Orlando Pirates right wing back Thabiso Monyane is one of the players who traveled with the team today and he’s thanked the technical team for this opportunity.
Monyane was also part of the Amajita squad which played at the FIFA U20 World Cup in Poland in June this year.
Pirates were well within their rights to keep Monyane especially after Mthokozisi Dube got sent off against Kaizer Chiefs this past weekend but Notoane has thanked the Bucs technical team and management for putting the nation first. – Report by Velile Mnyandu