South Africa coach Stuart Baxter handed a surprise recall to midfielder Thulani Serero as he named his squad for this month’s key Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Nigeria.
Serero is included despite the Vitesse Arnhem star telling Baxter last year he would not travel for Bafana Bafana matches unless guaranteed a starting berth.
“The sofa in Arnhem is more comfortable than the South African bench. If the national team wants me, then I must play. As the situation is now, I don’t want to go,” Serero told reporters before last November’s World Cup qualifiers against Senegal.
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Baxter is facing an injury crisis in midfield with regulars Dean Furman, Kamohelo Mokotjo and Bongani all sidelined for the match against the Super Eagles at Soccer City on Saturday 17 November.
“Thulani indicated strongly to people at the association that he wanted to make himself available for selection again,” Baxter explained at a news conference in Johannesburg on Monday.
Serero is a regular at Vitesse in the top flight in the Netherlands and has won 37 caps for South Africa.
Baxter named just two other changes from the squad that played two qualifiers against the Seychelles twice last month in their bid to qualify for next year’s finals in Cameroon.
Also earning recalls are Maritzburg United midfielder Fortune Makaringe and Mamelodi Sundowns winger Themba Zwane return while striker Bradley Grobler is also out injured and Thabo Nodada dropped.
Nigeria currently top Group E of 2019 Nations Cup qualifying by one point with South Africa second.
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