Bafana star Thulani Serero given second chance by coach Stuart Baxter
Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has given Thulani Serero a second chance by including him in the squad to face Nigeria for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier next weekend because the midfielder has made an unconditional commitment to the senior national team.
The Holland-based Serero made headlines last year when he ruled himself out of Bafana call-ups before a crucial World Cup qualifier against Senegal unless he was guaranteed game time but Baxter is not expecting problems this time around after talks with the 28-year old.
“Thulani indicated strongly to people at the association (Safa) that he wanted to make himself available for selection.
"I obviously checked on his form and he has been playing quite well at a good level‚” said Baxter when he announced the squad to take on the Super Eagles.
“I obviously spoke to him and we are both on the same page. I needed to know from him if his availability is unconditional because if you remember the problem was that he did not want to play for the national team but he did not want to sit on the bench.
"I needed to be convinced of his unconditional availability and he assured me that it was.
“I was delighted to hear that because he is one of the players who are playing at a very good level.
"He is and he has been an important player for us‚ I don’t think he is the sort of player who makes a massive impact with his noise in the dressing room because he is a quite boy.
"But‚ and he has qualities that we will need in our attacking game because of his mobility‚ the vision to see a pass and one on one situation.
Baxter said bringing the SBV Vitesse midfielder back to the national was to give him another chance to represent his country because he made a poor decision but he has promised to fit into the team’s environment.
“I am working from the assumption that everybody can make a poor decision and I thought his decision was poor when he said he wouldn’t continue to come to the national team.
"But‚ I do think that everybody had a right to second chances in life and this is his second chance.
"It is not a wild west saloon where people come in and come out. We have worked very hard at what sort of environment we want around the national team.
"What we believe in‚ what is the code of conduct‚ what is the sort of behaviour that the public will want from the national team.”
Bafana also gave a medical report with and Kamohelo Mokotjo and Sibusiso Vilakazi sidelined by torn Achilles tendons‚ Dean Furman by a dislocated shoulder and Keagan Dolly is undergoing rehabilitation on his fractured leg.
Bongani Zungu will also miss the visit against old foes Nigeria because of torn cruciate ligaments in his knee while Bradley Grobler has just done a knee operation.
Bafana Bafana Squad:
(Itumeleng Khune (Chiefs)‚ Ronwen Williams (SuperSport)‚ Darren Keet (Bidvest Wits)
Ramahwle Mphahlele (Kaizer Chiefs)‚ Motjeka Madisha (Mamelodi Sundowns)‚ Siyanda Xulu (Maritzburg United)‚ Thulani Hlatshwayo (Bidvest Wits)‚ Innocent Maela (Orlando Pirates)‚ S’Fiso Hlanti (Bidvest Wits)‚ Buhle MKhwanazi (Bidvest Wits)‚ Thamsanqa Mkhize (Cape Town City)
Vincent Pule (Orlando Pirates)‚ Lebogang Maboe (Mamelodi Sundowns)‚ Hlompho Kekana (Mamelodi Sundowns)‚ Fortune Makaringe (Maritzburg United)‚ Teboho Mokoena (SuperSport United)‚ Tiyani Mabunda (Mamelodi Sundowns)‚ Thembinkosi Lorch (Orlando Pirates)‚ Thulani Serero (SBV Vitesse)‚
Themba Zwane (Mamelodi Sundowns)‚ Lebo Mothiba (Racing Club De Strasbourg FC)‚ Dino Ndlovu (Zhejiang Greentown FC‚ China)‚ Percy Tau (Royal Union Saint FC‚ Belgium)