Serero still owes SA an apol­ogy

Sowetan - - Opinion -

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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