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Philemon Masinga: Nigeria must not feel at home against Bafana Bafana

12:19 GMT 05/11/2018
Thulani Serero & Keegan Dolly
The Bafana legend reckons coach Stuart Baxter is right to call up Serero for the clash against the Super Eagles

Former Bafana Bafana striker Philemon Masinga says he is delighted to see midfielder Thulani Serero return to the national side.

The Holland-based midfielder has been included in the South Africa squad to face Nigeria in the 2019 Caf African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier which will be played on Saturday, November 17 at the FNB Stadium.

“I think Serero will bring a lot of experience into the camp and he has been with the national team before and he has also played in Europe for many years,” Masinga told Goal.

Serero makes his return after he was banned last February following his sentiments that he cannot honour a call-up and sit on the bench.

“He is creative and he is one of the leaders in the team because of his experience. I also believe he will be under pressure to impress the coach after what happened, and also convince Baxter that he deserves to play,” he added.

The former Leeds United striker stated that he is happy that both the coach and the player have buried the hatchet as they look to help the team qualify for the 2019 Afcon finals.

“I just hope they will give him a chance to play. This will be a big game and he is not the first player to boycott or retire from the national team and later come back,” continued Masinga.

“There are so many players who have done this. For an example, (Willard) Katsande retired and is now back in the Zimbabwean squad,” he noted.

“We all know what Serero is capable of and I just hope he helps us remain unbeaten in the group and get a second win over Nigeria,” he responded.

“He can't be alone in the midfield where we will look to have creativity, but players such as (Vincent) Pule can make the team tick and contribute in providing goals or creating chances upfront,” said the former Jomo Cosmos player.

On the other hand, the North West-born legend said he is pleased to see the likes of Lebohang Mothiba and Dino Ndlovu retaining their spots in the squad.

“I am happy there is continuity in the squad, we expect goals against Nigeria because it was tough in Seychelles where we got a draw and I believe that the strikers will deliver at home,” he added.

“We are at home now and we will have to be smart and ensure we beat Nigeria. I am hoping to see more supporters in the stands because it was empty against Seychelles,” reflected the former striker.

“The two nations are big in the continent and the match will bring excitement to many. We also have so many Nigerians here, but we need to outnumber them in the stands,” urged the legend.

“Nigeria must feel they are an away team and I hope there will be activations to bring more numbers to the game,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, the South Africans will be without the likes of Kamohelo Mokotjo, Dean Furman, Bongani Zungu and Sibusiso Vilakazi, who are all nursing injuries.