PRAIA, Cape Verde – Thulani Serero, who is an injury concern for Bafana Bafana ahead of Friday’s 2018 World Cup qualifier against Cape Verde, hasn’t yet been ruled out of the clash at the Estadio Nacional, coach Stuart Baxter said on Wednesday.
The midfielder sat out the morning’s training session at the match venue, having arrived in camp with a troublesome hamstring, but will be closely monitored by the team doctor.
Serero’s club, Vitesse in the Eredivisie (Holland), appeared desperate to have him withdrawn from the national team earlier this week, but Baxter insisted he travelled to Praia to be assessed by the Bafana medical team.
“I am not entirely happy about the way his club has behaved,” the coach said. “I think they were too fast to say he is not available. In a perfect world, I would want our players to fight to represent their national team.
“I think if I called up a couple of the lads that played in the CHAN tournament, they would have tried to swim here to get in the team. And that is the attitude we want in the team, not of people missing flights and complaining.”
The coach conceded that there is a slight chance Serero might not be available for Friday’s game, but he couldn’t say just yet following Bafana’s session in the morning.
“But that will be my choice if he is not available. I don’t think that is automatic.
“But if I want him for the second game (in Durban next Tuesday against the same opposition), maybe I want him fresh. That is the situation.
“He is going to train with the doctor, and then I will have a report to say he has a chance or I wait for him for the second game.”
Striker Tokelo Rantie was still to arrive in Cape Verde and was expected around 7pm on Wednesday.
“There was some screw-up with his flight. I will listen to him when he gives his excuse, and we will decide what we will do about that. But the squad is together now and the lads have shown an appetite despite the hot conditions,” the coach explained.
Bafana are second in Group D of the World Cup qualifiers with four points, the same number of points as log leaders Burkina Faso, followed by Senegal on three and Cape Verde, who are yet to win a match.