Matthew Booth shares his thoughts on Thulani Serero's Bafana Bafana snub
Posted: 14 November 2017 Time: 16:45
Travelling all the way from Europe and not getting a chance to play for Bafana Bafana can be frustrating, but Matthew Booth says this is no reason to throw in the towel.
Booth knows the feeling of being called up to the national team as an overseas-based player and not getting an opportunity to feature. But despite being angry on his way back to Europe, he never turned his back on the national team when they needed him.
Just last week Netherlands-based midfielder Thulani Serero said he would only fly to South Africa if he was guaranteed game-time, according to coach Stuart Baxter. In an interview with Dutch media, Serero said he would rather sit on his couch in Arnhem than warm the Bafana bench.
Serero is yet to feature for Bafana since Baxter took over, despite being called up on a couple of occasions.
“It’s happened to me before. I was on loan at Wimbledon [in England] for three months. It was during one of Shakes Mashaba’s short spells as Bafana coach. I was trying to make the most of the short loan spell, but he called me for a friendly against Madagascar. I remember going and sitting on the bench and not playing,” said Booth.
“On the flight back I was quite angry, but there was no ways that I was not going to come back and play for the national team. I understood that you get into the starting line-up on condition that you train well leading up to the game, not just because you are playing in Europe.
“I have always made myself available. When I was in Russia, it went to the extreme that no one noticed me. In your career you have those sort of challenges, but I would advise any footballer to remain available.”
Booth feels Serero’s frustration could come from the fact that he is doing well in Holland at Vitesse.
“It could also be the fact that he is playing regularly and nobody is keeping tabs on him and he might be thinking he deserves a spot in the team.
“But that’s football. You get coaches who have a different opinion to yours. As a player you have to put up with it. You can’t pick and choose when you want to become available. You are either in wholeheartedly or not. But I understand his frustration, especially when things are not going well for the national team. I just feel we could have done without it, especially before such a big game. We needed all hands on deck. Hopefully they can sort it out because we don’t have depth in the squad and we need players like Thulani to come back.”