Following insinuations by Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter that defender Rivaldo Coetzee had gone AWOL, ruling himself out of the national team’s Africa Cup of Nations squad, a rebuttal has been issued.
Baxter told the media two weeks ago that the Mamelodi Sundowns centre back had asked to visit his gravely ill mother in the Northern Cape prior to the provisional squad he’d announced assembled in Johannesburg.
The coach said they didn’t hear from the player after that. But his agent, Mike Makaab, who at the time did not want to comment has opened up to the Siya crew about the events that led to Coetzee's withdrawal.
“Can you imagine how the young man would have felt if he went to the AFCON and his mother died? He would have not been able to live with himself,” the global agent explained.
“It’s nonsense that Rivaldo went AWOL. It would have been foolish for him to miss an opportunity to go to the AFCON, but he and I had a chat and he made it clear that his family comes first. His mom is stable now, fortunately. But as far as I know he informed the coach about his circumstances.”
‘Riva’ will report for club duty on Tuesday when Sundowns begin their pre-season preparations for the upcoming 2019/20 campaign.