Stupid of Safa to en­ter­tain self-serv­ing ego­tist Serero

Sunday Times - - Sport Soccer -

● It’s 2013. Oc­ca­sion: A 2014 World Cup qual­i­fi­ca­tion match be­tween Bafana Bafana and Botswana.

There is a ruc­tion in camp. Thu­lani Serero re­fuses to play and is thrown out of camp. Be­low is how coach Gor­don Ige­sund, who had in­formed Serero as early as Thurs­day that he was go­ing to start the match, ex­plained it then.

“He trained on Thurs­day and he then went to my team doc­tor to tell him he’s got a tight mus­cle in his thigh or groin area. The doc­tor checked him out and he is 100% and there is no groin in­jury. The doc­tor had six or seven play­ers in the team with tight mus­cles. He trained that ses­sion and again he was out­stand­ing, look­ing very good and mov­ing the ball around. Ex­cel­lent.”

On Fri­day, Serero told then-as­sis­tant Ser­ame Let­soaka that he didn’t want to play. “I was quite shocked with that and I called Thu­lani, my doc­tor and my as­sis­tant coach to a meet­ing in my room,” Ige­sund said. “I asked Thu­lani, ‘Are you in­jured’? He said, ‘I have a tight mus­cle and I’m scared I might in­jure my­self’. So I said, ‘Thu­lani, you got to work with me here, son. You know I want you in the team and now you say you don’t want to play’. So I asked him, ‘What do you want me to say when peo­ple ask me why you are not play­ing?’, and he said if they ask him he would say no comment . . . The doc­tor was there and I asked him, ‘I want to know from you, doc­tor, has Thu­lani got a slight in­jury?’ The doc­tor said he doesn’t have an in­jury and he’s got a tight mus­cle like six or seven other play­ers.

“It turns out Thu­lani told the doc­tor that he doesn’t want to play be­cause he’s got a big game in Hol­land next week, a Uefa Cham­pi­ons League match and he can’t af­ford to get in­jured. There was no pa­tri­o­tism there. I can’t take that, that is un­ac­cept­able. I was an­noyed be­cause why did he even come. He was even ar­ro­gant at some stage and he stood up

Our na­tional team should stop op­er­at­ing on the mood swings of play­ers

and said, ‘If you want me to say I’m in­jured, then I will say I’m in­jured’. That re­ally got me go­ing . . . The truth of the mat­ter is that Thu­lani Serero turned his back on us be­cause he wants to play in the Cham­pi­ons League . . . That is in­sult­ing in my opin­ion.” That was Serero’s to hell with you, Gor­don.

It’s December 2014. Oc­ca­sion: Prepa­ra­tion for Af­con 2015. Serero fails to re­port for camp. Iron­i­cally, when Serero found break­ing into the Ajax first team a moun­tain to climb, he was relegated to the mole­hill of the club’s re­serves. No game time at the club but Shakes Mashaba still called him up over and over. Serero went Awol when he was sup­posed to join his team­mates in camp for the 2015 Africa Cup of Na­tions. That was Serero’s screw you too, Shakes.

It’s November 2017. Oc­ca­sion: A cru­cial 2018 World Cup qual­i­fi­ca­tion clash be­tween Bafana and Sene­gal.

Break­ing news: Serero tells Dutch me­dia that he will never hon­our a Bafana call-up un­less he is guar­an­teed game time. Then, SA needed all shoul­ders to the wheel. But alas, the coun­try wasn’t a pri­or­ity. We couldn’t guar­an­tee him game time. Back then in­cum­bent Bafana coach Stu­art Baxter said: “This is a na­tional team, not a club team, there is no guar­an­tee­ing peo­ple places. So if he doesn’t feel it an hon­our enough to be called up to the na­tional camp, he may as well stay where he is. Whether that’s per­ma­nent or not, I cer­tainly don’t know. I am mark­ing his col­umn. We have asked him to put that in writ­ing. But he has cer­tainly told us that he is not go­ing to join the camp.”

What has changed? Noth­ing. Strange co­in­ci­dence that Baxter’s boss Danny Jor­daan hinted at Serero’s re­turn prior to the squad an­nounce­ment.

What have we here? A player who has com­mit­ted a litany of crimes against his coun­try and three coaches has been re­warded with a re­call. Ger­rara here.

It is stupid of Safa to en­ter­tain the self­serv­ing se­rial sulker Serero. When his spirit moves him, Serero is a class act, blessed with the un­canny abil­ity to weave witch­craft on the op­po­si­tion akin to a de­mon-pos­sessed zom­bie. But Bafana is no place for an ego­tist with an ex­ag­ger­ated view of him­self.

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