Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt bemoans timing of Phakamani Mahlambi's Bafana call-up
Posted: 20 March 2017 Time: 10:27
Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt has raised his concerns about the inclusion of Phakamani Mahlambi in the Bafana Bafana squad just three months after returning from nearly a year on the sidelines.
Mahlambi was quick off the mark upon his return to action just before the Christmas break but hasn’t been as explosive in recent games.
While his pace and the five goals that he has scored since his return would naturally give any national team coach reason to select him, it is his progress after a long injury that Hunt is worried about with regards to his teenage attacker.
Mahlambi has been called up for the two friendly games against Guinea-Bissau on Saturday in Durban and Angola next week Tuesday in East London.
“The worst thing for Phakamani is going to Bafana right now,” says Hunt.
“That is not the right thing for him. He needs to be here and do a little more of training here and get settled again.
"But then I am happy for the boy, I am saying if you look at his progress now he needs a little bit of time away from all that stuff and work a little bit. This would have been a good week for us to work because we don’t play for two weeks.
"We can work on a lot of things with him but obviously going to the camp they are not going to do any work with him so it is a problem. No disrespect to [his call up], I'm just saying it's important that he [gets individual work] but be that as it may, it's going to happen,” argues Hunt.
The 19-year-old was substituted against Al Ahly in the club's CAF Champions League exit on Sunday after a rather quiet afternoon by his standards.
“There are a lot of things going on. I still have a lot of work. Phakamani has had a big injury, ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), then nine months out. He came back with a bang, scored three in two games and obviously he has hit the wall now and it takes time,” says the Wits boss.