Tokelo Rantie turns down Bafana Bafana call-up for Senegal clash
Posted: 26 October 2017 Time: 14:10
Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has revealed that Tokelo Rantie recently requested to be omitted from his squad as he considers both his club and international future.
Bafana will next face Senegal in their penultimate Group D World Cup qualifier at Peter Mokaba Stadium – the replay ordered by FIFA in September – on November 10, before the return leg fixture in Dakar four days later.
Rantie has been a key figure for the senior national team in recent years, scoring in the all-important AFCON qualifying win away to Nigeria in June, and again in the first-leg defeat to Cape Verde two months ago.
He was then omitted from the squad to face Burkina Faso last month, after he missed back-to-back fixtures with his club side due to a red-card suspension he picked up in mid-September.
Baxter on Thursday morning named a 26-man squad for the crucial fixtures and, though he was considered, the Genclerbirligi striker turned the opportunity down as he feels he is in an uncertain head space at present.
"He [Rantie] is available. The last time I sat here I gave the reasons why Tokelo was not in the squad [for Burkina Faso], which was that he had just come off a three-game suspension, his coach was playing him as a winger and I wasn't 100 percent satisfied with his performance against Cape Verde," explained Baxter.
"Given those reasons, I had a conversation with Tokelo where he wasn't that happy with that [reasons for being omitted], so he was explaining some of the problems he's had down there [in Turkey] and how he's not feeling too good.
"He wants some space to think about both his international career and his career in Turkey, whether he should try and get back into South Africa or move on. So we just decided that this is not the right time [to bring him in]."
Asked for clarification on whether Rantie refused to honour the call-up, Baxter responded: "When I spoke to Tokelo, he was disappointed that he wasn't called up last time, and he sent me a text saying, 'Look, I think it's best if, no matter how I'm playing, I don't join up'.
"Whether Tokelo in his disappointment doesn't think he's ready, or whatever, that's his prerogative. He's got the right to say no, he's also got the right to say next time around, 'Look, I'm available'.
"I've got the right to select the squad I want to select, so... I don't want to take things too categoric, but certainly he didn't feel in the right frame of mind to be in this squad."