Bafana Bafana

Coetzee ruled out of AFCON camp after going AWOL

Rivaldo Coetzee (Gallo Images)
Rivaldo Coetzee (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Bafana Bafana defender Rivaldo Coetzee was given permission to be excused from camp but has not communicated with coach Stuart Baxter for a number of days since.

Coetzee's mother is said to be critically ill in the Northern Cape and he was initially given permission to go and be along her side.

However, the Mamelodi Sundowns star has since not communicated with coach Stuart Baxter and his technical team and it seems he will now miss out on the Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

Bafana reported for the training camp on Sunday although the 22-year-old was not a part of the group.

As such, Baxter has revealed he is sympathetic to Coetzee's plight though it is unlikely he will make his final 30-man squad for the AFCON.

He said: "I've got to be a bit careful... Look, Rivaldo called me the day we were assembling [Sunday] and said that his mother was critically ill and he didn't think that she would make it through the night.

"He then asked for permission to go [home], and I said, 'Of course you can go.' I said, 'But you're going to miss training. How much have you done in the last three weeks [since the season ended]?'

"He says, 'Nothing.' I say. 'Okay, that's going to be a challenge.' So, we gave him permission to go to his mother and we've heard nothing for three days. We've tried to get in touch with him but we've heard nothing.

"And now, all we can tell you is that he's in the Northern Cape somewhere. So, he's basically unselectable.

"When I say, I've got to be careful, that's why I say it. Because if his mother is critically ill then I don't want to make it sound like I'm throwing him under the bus... But we've not been able to contact him.

"If you want to play for your national team, I'm guessing that you're at least in touch with the coach to tell him, 'Look, I'm coming. Don't worry about me, I'm training.' But if he's not done anything for three weeks, maybe he feels himself that... I don't know."

The final 23 for the squad is set to be named on Sunday before there are two practice matches against Ghana on June 15 as well as Angola on 19 June.

The national team are in a tough Group D along with Morocco, Ivory Coast and Namibia. South Africa's first game in the tourney is on June 24 against the Ivorians.

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