“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,” said David Notoane on Phakamani Mahlambi. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

South African coach David Notoane has insisted that Phakamani Mahlambi’s withdrawal from the Cosafa Cup squad was not related to alcohol abuse.

The SA Football Association announced on Thursday that Mamelodi Sundowns star Mahlambi had asked to be released from the team due to personal matters after reporting to camp on Sunday.

He has now been replaced by Cape Town City star Gift Links.

Some media reports stated that Mahlambi had arrived in Durban under the influence of alcohol, but Notoane refuted this claim.

“Mahlambi reported for camp on Sunday like most of the players, and we had a very long meeting with him and management,” the coach said.

“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

“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.

“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 (on Wednesday), and will continue with our preparations for the match on Sunday.”

The South African team will take on Botswana on Sunday at the Princess Magogo Stadium (3pm kickoff).

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