In the desperation to upturn the Africa Cup of Nations’ qualification tide which appears not blowing in their favour, South Africa has recalled a previously ‘exiled’ Thulani Serero who was blacklisted from the national team.
But the long-awaited recall is not going smoothly as the Vitesse Arnhem midfielder has picked up injury which may prevent him from featuring against Nigeria on Saturday.
According to a South African publication, Coach Stuart Baxter said he was giving Serero a “second chance” after the Dutch-based playmaker was banned from the national team by former SAFA chief executive Dennis Mumble for refusing to honour a call-up for a World Cup qualifier against Senegal.
The midfielder had won the second-most number of ‘duels’ in the Dutch league this season ahead of the weekend’s fixtures and with no Dean Furman‚ Kamohelo Mokotjo or Bongani Zungu due to injury‚ is an almost certain starter in Saturday’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier if fit.
He had featured in 44 of the club’s 45 Dutch league games since he joined at the start of the 2017/18 campaign‚ and started every one this season before the 2-1 win over Utrecht.
But now, after the Vitesse Arnhem midfielder did not feature in his club’s 2-1 win over FC Utrecht on Saturday, Serero has arrived in the Bafana camp with what the team management described on the SAFA website as a “slight injury”.
He trained on his own on Monday at Steyn City in Johannesburg, but “will join the rest of the team on Tuesday”.
Baxter will hope that the 27-year-old Serero is ready to play against Nigeria in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at the FNB Stadium on Saturday.