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Thulani Serero still owes SA an apology

Thulani Serero is back in the Bafana Bafana mix.
Thulani Serero is back in the Bafana Bafana mix.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter this week named a squad to face Nigeria in a crucial Africa Cup of Nations qualifier next weekend.

The squad was different from the one which did duty against the Seychelles last month, predictably so given injuries to several players including Dean Furman and Kamohelo Mokotjo.

Given the now limited resources for such an important game - where victory would send Bafana to the Nations Cup in Cameroon next June - we are still not convinced of the inclusion of Thulani Serero in the team.

We recall that Serero - who plays for Dutch side Vitesse - snubbed the country last year, telling the media in Holland that he would only honour a Bafana call-up provided he was guaranteed that he would play.

He had endured a horrid time on the bench after being called up for Bafana's World Cup qualifier against Burkina Faso in October last year.

For him to be included now, we are worried that Baxter may have opened a can of worms. Did the player get a guarantee that he would play, hence his return?

More worryingly, Serero's recall was first mooted by Safa president Danny Jordaan, who told the media last month the organisation was keen to engage him after the player's self-imposed exile.

At 28, Serero is obviously one of SA's most talented players, hence he's been playing in Europe for almost a decade.

He has also hit form for Vitesse, starting all their 15 league and cup games this season and finishing all but two. Bafana can obviously do with his talent.

But Serero needs to come clean. He cannot just make bold statements that border on insult, dump the national team and return as if nothing happened. Even if he explained himself to Safa, details of such a conversation should be made public.

After all, Safa will spend the next few days telling the SA public to flock to FNB Stadium for next weekend's match.

The national team belongs to all of us and if a player shows Bafana the middle finger, we can't be expected to welcome him back with open arms without holding him accountable. When he lands in the country next week, Serero must have prepared an apology for his antics towards the nation.

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