Cape Town – Bafana Bafana midfielder Thulani Serero has ruled himself out of selection for the upcoming 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Senegal after demanding a guaranteed starting berth.
Serero, who has a long history of bust-ups with previous national team coaches, effectively turned his back on his country after giving head coach Stuart Baxter an ultimatum over a place with the starting line-up.
The diminutive Vitesse Arnhem midfielder informed the Bafana Bafana management that he would not be travelling to the camp in Polokwane unless he was promised a starting place.
According to a report by KickOff, Baxter confirmed the damaging news that will surely have a negative impact on an already weakened Bafana squad missing key players.
"He gave the indication to Bra Barney [team manager, Kujane] that if he is not going to play he does not want to come to camp," said Baxter.
"Because this is a national team and not a club, this is not a place where we can guarantee people places. If he does not feel that it’s an honour enough to be called to the national team camp, then he may as well stay where he is. Whether that’s permanent I don’t know.
"It’s a shame for his team-mates who are working hard to try and beat Senegal, but that’s the way it is and it’s everybody’s right to say 'I am okay to be in the squad, I am okay to come sit in the stand and I am okay to be on the bench'."
Meanwhile, Baxter's squad has already been debilitated with the withdrawals of midfielder Hlompho Kekane and goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune.
Kekana was granted permission to leave the camp in Polokwane after news that his mother-in-law passed away in a car accident on Monday night.
With Baxter still sweating on the fitness of Khune after he sustained a facial injury when he collided with a Chippa United player on Sunday during the Telkom quarter-final match.
In order to book their place for in Russia next year, South Africa have to win both their remaining fixtures against Senegal.
Baxter's charges face the Lions of Teranga on Friday evening (kick-off is at 19:00) at the Peter Mokaba Stadium and then travel to Dakar for the return fixture next Tuesday, November 14.