Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has insisted that the inclusion of Thulani Serero in the squad to face Nigeria is not conditional on the guarantee that he will be in the starting XI. DEAN WORKMAN reports.
The former Ajax Amsterdam man was banned by the South African Football Association earlier this year after he reportedly refused to honour a national call-up unless he was guaranteed game time.
Serero has, however, been in good form for Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem in the Eredivisie and with several Bafana regulars including the likes of Dean Furman, Bongani Zungu, Keagan Dolly and Kamohelo Mokotjo all out injured, Serero’s Bafana hiatus has come to an end.
Speaking to the media at his squad announcement, Baxter insisted that the most important thing about including Serero in the squad was that it came unconditionally.
‘I obviously checked on his form and he is playing quite a lot at a good level.
‘I obviously spoke to him so that we are both on the same page and I needed to know from him if his availability was unconditional because the problem wasn’t that he didn’t want to play for the national team. The problem was if he came here, he didn’t want to sit on the bench or in the stands.
‘I needed to be convinced that his availability was unconditional, and he assured me it was, and I was delighted to hear that because he is one of the players that is playing at a very high level. Therefore, he is included in the squad,’ said the British coach.
Bafana Bafana will face Nigeria in a crucial Afcon qualifier at the FNB Stadium on Saturday, 17 November.