Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Blow for Bafana: Thulani Serero out until Christmas

Double Dutch : Thulani Serero scored twice for Ajax against Herenveen

These two bleak paragraphs about Thulani Serero, translated from the original Dutch on the official Ajax Amsterdam website, came as a major blow to Bafana Bafana boss Gordon Igesund yesterday.

“The groin injury that Thulani Serero sustained in the match against ADO Den Haag is Monday investigated. An MRI scan a tear in the groin muscle shows.

“The midfielder is therefore not usable until the winter break. His recovery in the coming months through rehabilitation at Ajax will take place.”

In effect, though it sounds like the rantings of Star Wars Jedi Master Yoda, this means 22-year-old Serero is now a serious doubt for South Africa’s AFCON2013 kick-off at Soccer City on January 19 – on the very day tickets for the African Cup of Nations went on sale in the host nation.

Serero, the PSL’s Player of the Season in 2011 before he was plucked from Cape Town to Amsterdam by Ajax management, played a major role in Igesund’s new South Africa during the gallant 1-0 defeat against Brazil in Sao Paulo, and the subsequent 2-0 win over Mozambique in Mbombela.

If he is sidelined until Holland’s midweek break – as Ajax’s headline “Serero tot winterstop uitgeschakeld" suggests – Serero is unlikely to be fit for the big kick-off.

Though another former Ajax product Steven Pienaar – denied a part in Igesund’s baptism when Everton announced he had a thigh injury – may be considered Bafana’s senior professional, Serero is the next big thing in Holland and South Africa. He scored twice against Herenveen last month and is becoming a major favourite at the 52,000-capacity Amsterdam Arena.

The Ere Divisie winter break takes place from December 23 to January 17.

My old World Cup pal Ed Aarons spoke to Serero after the Ajax announcement and was told: “We're still going for more tests, so it's not confirmed how long I will be out for at the moment.

“The doctors will tell me what they think and I will just have to do my best to get back as soon as possible. Of course it is frustrating because I was just starting to play regularly and was feeling comfortable in the team. But that's football … it happens.”

Serero will now miss South Africa’s warm-ups against Poland and Kenya in October.

Despite an apparent chaotic last-minute turnaround in his fixture list, SAFA have decided to face the Poles despite Igesund saying: “We have the African Nations Cup coming up, so I wanted to play against African opponents, not European teams.

“Playing against Poland would not be great benefit when we’ve got to get used to playing against African teams.”

But with tickets for the game already sold and still advertised on the Polish FA website, SAFA insist Bafana MUST play in Poland on October 12 despite Igesund’s misgivings… without Serero.

1 comment:

  1. "and is becoming a major favourite at the 52,000-capacity Amsterdam Arena."

    Not quite, Neal, not quite.

    Remember these Ajax fans have seen many many stars over the years. A two goal performance isn't anything out of the ordinary.

    I travel to Amsterdam often on business and have met Ajax fans numerous times. While they do rate him, they still feel he's behind De Jong and Eriksen in their pecking order.

    One of the major qualms about him is that he is too injury prone for his age and too inconsistent.

    Although the Herenveen result will do him the world of good, it will some time for him to become a 'favourite'.