Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has given Thulani Serero a second chance by including him in the squad to face Nigeria for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on November 17 because the midfielder has made an unconditional commitment to the national team.
The Holland-based Serero made headlines in 2017 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 after talks with him. "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‚" 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 if his availability is unconditional because if you remember the problem was that he did 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 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 quiet boy.
"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 situations."
Baxter said bringing the SBV Vitesse midfielder back was to give him another chance 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 has a right to a second chance in life.
"It is not a Wild West saloon where people come in and 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."
Kamohelo Mokotjo and Sibusiso Vilakazi are sidelined by torn Achilles tendons and Dean Furman by a dislocated shoulder. 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 had knee surgery.