Phakamani Mahlambi makes a challenge against Senegal at the U20 African Cup of Nations in Zambia in March. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Bidvest Wits forward Phakamani Mahlambi has been withdrawn from the South African U20 Men’s National Team due to a hamstring injury he suffered while training with his club.

His place has been taken by Ajax Cape Town defender Sirgio Kammies, who is expected in South Korea on Wednesday night.

As per the FIFA rules for the tournament, no player can be replaced in the squad without proof of an injury.

“Judging from the evidence revealed by the ultrasound film that has been sent by Mahlambi’s club and has been forwarded to the FIFA Medical office, the player’s injury is very significant and unfortunately can’t be managed before any of our World Cup games,” said Dr Thulani Ngwenya, the team doctor.

“Surgery would be a better option to enhance recovery however, he will still not be ready for this World Cup Tournament and it is for this reason that he has been withdrawn.”

Amajita have 18 players in camp in South Korea with Bidvest Wits right back Reeve Frosler and SuperSport United midfielder Teboho Mokoena still to report for national duty.

“It is very unfortunate that Phakamani can’t be with us but we have to forge ahead. We would like to wish him a speedy recovery,” said Amajita head coach Thabo Senong.

“This has also given us a chance to re-evaluate our squad, so we decided to call up Sirgio Kammies so as to add numbers to our defence because we feel that we have enough strength in attack.

“Kammies was part of the team’s preparations prior to the U20 AFCON tournament in Zambia earlier this year as well as the World Cup, so he knows the team and how we operate. Obviously it will take him a few days to adapt to the different time zone and weather conditions but we will monitor him daily and see how he performs at training.”

There are three days left to the kickoff of the 2017 FIFA U20 World Cup. South Africa will start their campaign on Sunday against Japan in Group D (kick-off at 10h00 SA time).

Sirgio Kammies (right) plays in the 2017 Bayhill Premier Cup. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

Safa Media