Players who turn down call-ups represent SA's mentality, says Stuart Baxter
Posted: 8 November 2017 Time: 08:00
Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter says South Africans should be worried if players are going to make turning down call-ups a trend.
Before he announced his squad for the back-to-back 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Senegal, Baxter revealed that striker Tokelo Rantie had requested to be left out of the team while he figures himself out.
Rantie has proven to be problematic in the past, turning his back on the country during times the team needed a striker to get the goals.
Then there’s Holland-based midfielder Thulani Serero, who has told the national team that he will not come to South Africa unless he is guaranteed that he will play.
Serero will not fly to South Africa for the World Cup qualifier against Senegal on Friday and Baxter is unlikely to call-up a replacement.
While players such as Siphiwe Tshabalala are delighted to get call-ups after an almost four-year absence, the likes of Rantie and Serero are putting themselves first before the nation.
“If it’s a trend, then South Africa should be worried, not me,” Baxter said.
“I will pick the players who want to play for South Africa, but if it’s a trend then you should be worried because these are the people who represent the mentality of South Africans. I don’t think they represent the mentality of the boys who are here [in camp]. But at the end of the day, Jack Wilshere did not throw in the towel in England and [Sergio] Busquets does not complain when he gets left out [of the Spain squad].”
He continued: “The honour is about being called into the squad and then it’s up to you to show that you are the best man for the job. When people see the honour as actually playing and not being in the squad, then that’s a problem because that’s the ego talking and that’s not good. I am not going to criticise anybody because it’s everybody’s right to feel the way they want. But if it’s a trend that players only come to national camp when they selected, it’s a worry for everybody, not just for the coach.”