'Bafana can go jump'

So what? 'If the national team wants me, then I must play. As it is now, I don't want to go,' charges Serero

14 November 2017 - 07:31 By Mark Gleeson and Mninawa Ntloko
Thulani Serero. File photo.
Thulani Serero. File photo.
Image: MUZI NTOMBELA/BACKPAGEPIX

Thulani Serero says he would rather sit on his sofa at home in The Netherlands than on the Bafana Bafana bench.

The playmaker was speaking for the first time on his decision to shun Bafana Bafana, who take on Senegal in a dead rubber World Cup qualifier in Dakar on Tuesday night. Bafana lost the crucial first leg 2-0 in Polokwane on Friday to fall out of contention for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. It was also the team's 99th loss since readmission on July 7 1992.

Serero failed to arrive for the two-leg encounters against the Lions of Teranga after his demand for a berth in the starting 11 was rejected by coach Stuart Baxter.

The 27-year-old's international career is now in serious peril after SA Football Association chief executive Denis Mumble said at the weekend Serero's future with Bafana was over.

But the player remains unmoved after he was left on the bench in the past three matches, twice against Cape Verde and against Burkina Faso.

"The sofa in Arnhem (a city in The Netherlands) is more comfortable than the South African bench," he told the Dutch media. "I have thought about it long and hard.

"If the national team wants me, then I must play. As the situation is now I don't want to go."

Serero confirmed that he had told Baxter of his decision on November 5, though the coach said he had learnt of the player's demand and position from team manager Barney Kujane.

Meanwhile, beleaguered Baxter believes there is still something to salvage from Tuesday night's match.

"It's important to win [the dead rubber] on many levels, because to take a scalp like Senegal away from home would be like the Nigeria game," the Briton said in reference to the historic 2-0 victory over the Super Eagles in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Uyo in June.

''It creates such a good platform to move forward and, of course, in terms of prestige - it is a big game."

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