Stuart Baxter a firm supporter of Thulani Serero, despite omission from Bafana squad
Posted: 25 May 2017 Time: 14:41
Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has voiced his support for South African midfielder Thulani Serero, despite omitting him from the latest squad to face Nigeria.
Bafana take on the Super Eagles in their opening 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Uyo, Nigeria on Saturday 10 June, with kick-off set for 17h00 local time [16h00 SA time].
Serero, who is set to see his contract with Dutch club Ajax Amsterdam come to an end next month, has not seen much action this season after being deemed surplus to requirements by coach Peter Bosz.
The 27-year-old has made just five appearances for the Ajax reserve team since the start of the campaign but has featured in the last six internationals under former Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba and interim mentor Owen da Gama.
Before opening the floor to question from the media, Baxter, who this morning named his first squad since his reappointment earlier this month, offered a verbose explanation on his decision not to call upon the experienced former Ajax Cape Town midfielder but assured that the door is not closed to his return.
“You’ll see that I’ve not selected Thulani Serero. I have had contact with him and notified him that I don’t think it’s fair on him or the rest of the squad if you’ve had 800 minutes of football at the top level over the last one year,” announced the British tactician.
“So I will not be selecting him for this game but I did tell him that I will tell you guys [media] that I think he’s one of the biggest talents. Once he gets a new address [club] I look forward to working with him.
“Again, this is not one of those, ‘if you’ve played well [for] five games then you’re eligible.’ He could have played maybe six or seven games, or even 30 games, each situation is different. I wouldn’t be picking him, with that uncertainty surrounding him, to play in Nigeria against Nigeria.
“If this game was different, maybe I would have brought him in camp and had a look at him, but in this case, I think it would be unfair on the boy and unfair on everybody concerned.”
Meanwhile, there are concerns over the fitness of fellow Dutch-based midfielder Kamohelo Moktojo, who is set to have surgery on his injured left thumb.
However, Baxter remains hopeful that the FC Twente star could recover while in camp and feature in the crucial Group E encounter, but will await a full medical report before announcing a replacement.
“We’ve had a medical flag from Mokotjo, saying that he will likely have an operation on his hand. He’s selected because we think that he can train while recovering and that there’s still a good chance of him being available,” explained Baxter.
“In lieu of not having a full medical report, we have called him to the squad. If we get a full medical report that rules him out, we do have two players on standby – those names we won’t give yet because we’re waiting for his full medical report.”
The inactive members of the squad are set to assemble on Thursday, June 1, while the full contingent will be in camp from Sunday, June 4, before they depart for Lagos, Nigeria on Wednesday, June 7.