Thulani Serero looks on during a match with Bafana Bafana in 2017. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

DURBAN – Bafana Bafana midfielder Thulani “Cream” Serero has been banned from playing for the senior national team on a permanent basis.

This was confirmed by SA Football Association (Safa) chief executive Dennis Mumble on Tuesday in an exclusive interview with Independent Media from Oman.

Serero made headlines last year when he asked to be guaranteed a starting berth in two World Cup qualifiers against Senegal. 

He struggled for game time under the leadership of new coach Stuart Baxter.

Serero was excluded when Bafana defeated Nigeria in the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Nigeria.

He was then benched in three World Cup qualifiers – against Cape Verde home and away and in the match against Senegal.

“I can tell you now that those who continue to disrespect the national team will not be considered for selection in future matches. We can’t continue to tolerate that kind of an attitude,” Mumble said.

“It is not the first time he has disrespected the national team, and he is not going to be called to the national team again.

“It is not only Serero, but all those who continue to misbehave when they are called to represent the country.

“We’ve had a long conversation with the coach about this, and he is unhappy with the ill-discipline of the players when they are called into the national team. We are no longer going to entertain such behaviour.”

Serero has made 38 appearances for Bafana and netted on two occasions. He is currently doing well for SVB Vitesse in Holland.

“We understand the pressure that the players go through in Europe. We know it is not easy, but the national team should always come first and also be treated with respect.

“We can’t have the players who coaches the coach. I don’t get involved in team selection, but the coach has stressed that he wants to maintain the discipline. We don’t want prima-donnas in our national team,” Mumble lamented.

Serero was asked to be omitted in 2014 when Bafana were about to play Botswana in a World Cup qualifier dead-rubber at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban because his then-club Ajax Amsterdam were about to play Barcelona in the Uefa Champions League.

He also didn’t report to camp late in 2014, when Bafana were preparing for the Afcon in Equatorial Guinea in 2015.

His teammates were busy in camp at that time and he was cruising around in South Africa. 

IOL Sport

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