Vitesse Arnhem midfielder Thulani Serero has decided to pull out of Bafana Bafana's World Cup qualifier against Senegal at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Friday evening.
According to coach Stuart Baxter, the 27-year-old indicated to Bafana team manager Barney Kujane he will not come to the national team camp unless there are guarantees that he will play against Senegal.
Baxter, who was clearly furious by Serero's recent antics, said the attacking midfielder can stay away for as long as he wants, although he is not sure at this stage whether or not the former Ajax Amsterdam man will return to the national team setup in future.
“He gave the indication to Bra Barney [Kujane] that if he is not going to play he does not want to come to camp,” Baxter told the media in Polokwane.
“Because this is a national team and not a club, this is not a place where we can guarantee people places, if he does not feel that it’s an honour enough to be called to the national team camp, then he may as well stay where he is. Whether that’s permanent I don’t know," said Baxter.
Baxter feels Serero disrespected his Bafana Bafana teammates, who continue to work hard to make sure that the country qualifies for the 2018 finals in Russia.
“It’s a shame for his teammates who are working hard to try and beat Senegal, but that’s the way it is and it’s everybody’s right to say ‘I am okay to be in the squad, I am okay to come sit in the stand and I am okay to be on the bench’,” he continued.
The Bafana mentor revealed that Serero hasn't spoken to him directly about his decision to stay away, adding that the player [Serero] instructed Kujane to cancel his flight.
“He told Bra B that he should cancel the flight. He did not get in touch with me at all. When I came to camp Bra B flagged it to me and said ‘listen we have an issue with Serero’. He has to put it in writing so that we don’t look stupid with ‘he said, she said’,” added Baxter.