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Mahlambi axed from Bafana Bafana for disciplinary reasons, Gift Links called up as his replacement

10:30 GMT+3 30/05/2019
Phakamani Mahlambi during the South Africa Training
The 21-year-old has been released from the national team ahead of their Cosafa Cup opener due to alleged ill-discipline

Mamelodi Sundowns attacker Phakamani Mahlambi has been released from the Bafana Bafana squad that is in camp for the Cosafa Cup tournament.

Mahlambi returned to the Bafana Bafana fold for the regional tournament after some impressive displays for the Brazilians this past season. 

The 21-year-old has been undergoing a transition of sorts after signing for Sundowns at the beginning of the 2018/19 campaign following a disappointing spell at Egyptian giants Al Ahly.

However, after a murky start to life at the Tshwane giants, Mahlambi slowly regained his form, but his release from the camp will be seen as a major blow to his progress.

Mahlambi featured 18 times for Sundowns in their successful league campaign and found the back of the net on four occasions. 

Reports suggest that Mahlambi allegedly arrived at the training grounds under the influence of alcohol, forcing the technical team to boot him from the squad.

However, while Mahlambi's release has been confirmed, interim coach David Notoane has refuted claims that the former Bidvest Wits attacker was 'booted' out.

“Mahlambi reported for camp on Sunday like most of the players and we had a very long meeting with him and management.  He asked to be released from the camp to deal with personal issues that I was aware of from the discussions that I had with his father,” Notoane said in a statement issued on the South Africa Football Association's website.

“We sat down with management and had to discuss the repercussions of us releasing the player from camp, and quickly had to find a replacement, which is why it has taken us a few days to report on the matter,” he explained.

“I have now heard media reports that he was “booted” out of camp for alcohol abuse but we have no evidence of this. We have called up Gift Links who arrived today (Wednesday, 29 May 2019) and will continue with our preparations for the match on Sunday,” Notoane concluded.

Furthermore, Cape Town City winger Gift Links has been called up to replace Mahlambi.

Bafana Bafana take on Botswana in the quarter-final of this year's Cosafa Cup on Sunday afternoon.