Agadir, Morocco – Gordon Igesund has insisted that Thulani Serero must apologise for his behaviour at the last Bafana Bafana camp, before he will be considered for a recall to the international fray.
Serero was in excellent form for Ajax Amsterdam in Utrecht on the weekend, scoring and giving a superb all-round display, as the Dutch giants won 3-0. The 23-year-old, however, will not feature for Bafana in a friendly against Morocco on Friday, as he is not in Igesund’s plans after being sent home from the last international camp.
Igesund claimed that Serero did not want to play in the 2014 World Cup qualifier against Botswana in September, because he was scared of injury with a big Uefa Champions League game against Barcelona coming up. Serero has denied this, but Igesund was sticking by his story yesterday, with no sign of a break to the impasse.
“I am very happy he played well (against Utrecht), he is a very talented player,” said Igesund.
“We need him to be committed to South African football. The decision I made (to drop him from the camp) was very clear and very right. I have a team of players who want to play, and he didn’t want to play.
“He was scared of getting injured, he said it to me. We have written a letter, as an association, to say very clearly that we would like to see his side of the story.
“Serero’s future is in his own hands. I am not one to hold grudges. Young players make mistakes, I know where he is coming from.
“Playing against Barcelona, you want to be on the field. He must just write a letter to my assistant coaches and apologise, say he made a mistake. I hope it happens sooner rather than later. Serero is fantastic, but you have to be fair and honest, no one is bigger than the game … a player who plays for me and Bafana must be prepared to go out there and die for his country. You can’t say you want to play against Messi and are scared of getting injured.”
Igesund will still have plenty of young talent to choose from, as Bafana begin their preparations for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in Agadir this week, having failed to make it to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The Bafana coach has suggested he is prepared to throw the likes of Lokeren playmaker Ayanda Patosi and Lech Poznan midfielder Daylon Claasen in to the fray on Friday evening, regardless of the result against a strong-looking Morocco side.
“Of course we want to win, but it is important for us to be brave,” said Igesund. “The big picture is 2015 and 2018. If we win it is brilliant and we are capable of winning. But we may not gel immediately.”
Morocco’s squad have their own wounds to lick, after failing to qualify for the 2014 World Cup behind the Ivory Coast.
Coach Rachid Taoussi has called up a powerful looking line-up full of overseas-based talent. Only just over half of the squad was there when Bafana and Morocco last met, playing out a 2-2 draw at the African Nations Cup finals in Durban, a result that was enough to see Bafana scrape into the quarter-finals.