Sundowns’ truant Mbulelo Mabizela courts expulsion

2008-02-28 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG’S talented but troubled footballer Mbulelo Mabizela is on the verge of being kicked out of another football club, this time defending Premier Soccer League champions Mamelodi Sundowns.

Mabizela, a former captain of Bafana Bafana at just 21 and promising young defender with Tottenham Hotspur in the English Premiership, has been AWOL from the Sundowns camp since last week.

The 27-year-old former Orlando Pirates captain was plagued by weight and disciplinary problems in a short career in Europe at Spurs and Norway’s Vålerenga.

He was thrown a lifeline at Sundowns and showed signs of a revival in form, but might have blown his chances.

Mabizela was given leave last week to visit his father in Pietermaritzburg, but did not report back and could not be reached by Sundowns until Tuesday. By yesterday, though, the player had still not reported to Sundowns’ offices in Chloorkop, Gauteng.

Chairman Patrice Motsepe reportedly has lost patience with the player, and is considering terminating his contract.

Sundowns media and communications manager, Mahlatse Mphahlele, told The Witness yesterday that the club will give Mabizela a chance to explain himself before taking disciplinary action.

“By the end of office hours today Mabizela had still not reported in,” Mphahlele said yesterday. “He spoke to the team manager [Harris Chueu] yesterday and said he would be here today, and whether he is in Johannesburg yet, or still on his way, I do not know.

“When he left he said he wanted to visit his father because he was ill, and we will have to wait for him to come back so he can explain himself for going missing.”

Meanwhile Sundowns’ recently departed coach, Gordon Igesund, has been linked to struggling AmaZulu. Kickoff.com reported that the coach has been in talks with the Durban club, but AmaZulu commercial and operations manager Lunga Sokhela denied any knowledge of this.

“I am not aware that the team is talking to Gordon. At the moment Clive Barker is our head coach, but we are trying everything to maintain a good position in the log,” Sokhela told the website.

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