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Thulani Serero gets surprise recall for Bafana Bafana

Thulani Serero is back in Bafana colours Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Thulani Serero has received a surprise recall to the South African national side for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Nigeria at FNB Stadium on November 17, as the injury-ravaged Bafana Bafana cast their net wide.

The South African Football Association banned the Vitesse Arnhem midfielder last year after he reportedly refused a call-up for the World Cup qualifiers with Senegal unless he was guaranteed game-time.

But with a number of players out injured, including midfielders Dean Furman and Kamohelo Mokotjo, SAFA have relented and allowed coach Stuart Baxter to call on the experienced Serero.

The 28-year-old had said at the time of his call-up for the Senegal clash that "the sofa in Arnhem is more comfortable than the South African bench. If the national team wants me, then I must play. As the situation is now I don't want to go."

But Baxter looks to have patched things up with the player, though he told reporters when announcing his squad on Monday that Serero was not guaranteed to start.

Serero won the last of his 37 caps in a 0-0 draw against Angola in March 2017.

Also earning recalls are Maritzburg United midfielder Fortune Makaringe and Mamelodi Sundowns winger Themba Zwane, with the squad otherwise the same as the one that did duty against Seychelles last month.

Aside from Mokotjo and Furman, also missing through injury are striker Bradley Grobler, and midfielders Bongani Zungu and Keagan Dolly.

Victory for South Africa against Nigeria will seal their place in the finals in Cameroon next year, while they will also qualify with a draw if Libya fail to beat Seychelles on a difficult pitch in Victoria.

South Africa squad

Goalkeepers: Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs), Ronwen Williams (SuperSport United), Darren Keet (Bidvest Wits)

Defenders: Ramahlwe Mphahlele (Kaizer Chiefs), Motjeka Madisha (Mamelodi Sundowns), Siyanda Xulu (Maritzburg United), Thulani Hlatshwayo, Sifiso Hlanti, Buhle Mkhwanazi (all BidVest Wits), Innocent Maela (Orlando Pirates), Thamsanqa Mkhize (Cape Town City).

Midfielders: Vincent Pule, Thembinkosi Lorch (both Orlando Pirates), Lebohang Maboe, Hlompho Kekana, Tiyani Mabunda, Themba Zwane (all Mamelodi Sundowns), Fortune Makaringe (Maritzburg United), Teboho Mokoena (SuperSport United), Thulani Serero (Vitesse)

Strikers: Lebo Mothiba (Strasbourg), Percy Tau (Royal Union St Gilloise), Dino Ndlovu (Hangzhou Greentown)