Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has recalled midfielder Thulani Serero of SBV Vitesse FC in the Netherlands in his squad for the must-win 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Nigeria at FNB Stadium on 17 November.
Though Serero is back in the team, Baxter has resisted temptation to include Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Andile Jali and he did not want to speak about the players who have not been included in the squad.
Serero’s availability is a plus for Bafana considering the fact that Baxter is not able to pick the likes of Kamohelo Mokotjo, Dean Furman, Bongani Zungu, Keagan Dolly, Sibusiso Vilakazi and Bradley Grobler who are injured.
Baxter said he has had discussions with Serero and the midfielder has made it clear that he will be committed to the national for the long haul.
“He is and he has always been an important player for us,” said Baxter at Safa House on Monday.
“He is a quite boy in the dressing room and I am working on the assumption that everybody can make a mistake. This is his second chance and he has the quality that we need in our attacking game,” he said about Serero’s return.
“It has really been a tough task to select the team to face Nigeria without some of our regular players, but we have to soldier on.
“These injuries could not have come at the worst of times when we really need to collect all three points because we are well aware the importance of doing this,” said Baxter.
“The positive side, however, is that this gives us a chance to introduce other players into the squad, and these are players we have been monitoring, so it not like a knee-jerk reaction.
“This helps us to ensure that when we qualify for the tournament we have an even bigger pool of players to choose from. I am also confident that the players brought in will do a good job.”
Bafana Bafana Squad:
Goalkeepers: (Itumeleng Khume (Chiefs0, Ronwen Williams (Supersport), Darren Keet (Wits)
Defenders: Ramahle Mphahlele (Chiefs), Motjeka Madisha (Sundowns), Siyanda Xulu (Maritzburg), Thulani Hlatshwayo (Wits), Innocent Maela (Pirates), S’Fiso Hlanti (Wits), Buhle MKhwanazi (Bidvest Wits), Thamsanqa Mkhize (Cape Town City)
Mifielders: Vincent Pule (Pirates), Lebogang Maboe (Sundowns), Hlompho Kekana (Sundowns), Fortune Makaringe (Maritzburg), Teboho Mokoena (Supersport), Samuel Mabunda (Sundowns), Thembinkosi Lorch (Pirates), Thulani Serero (SBV Vitesse),
Strikers: Themba Zwane (Sundowns), Lebo Mothiba (Racing Club De Strasbourg FC), Dino Ndlovu (Zhejiang Greentown FC, China), Percy Tau (Royal Union Saint FC, Belgium)