Serero one of few standouts for South Africans

SAM WORTHINGTON
Last updated 15:04 21/05/2014
Thulani Serero
Getty Images
COMING TO NZ: Ajax midfielder Thulani Serero is the best know of a mostly unknown squad of South African players coming to NZ.

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Ajax midfielder Thulani Serero headlines a severely weakened South African football squad to play the All Whites in Auckland on May 30.

Serero, 24, has scored six goals in 45 games for the Amsterdam club and is one of four European-based players named in the 18-man South African squad for the tour of Australia and New Zealand.

The others are Racing Genk defender Anele Ngcongca, FC Lokeren midfielder Ayanda Patosi and Bournemouth striker Tokelo Rantie.

Serero signed with Ajax in 2011 for €2.5 million and scored the opener in a 2-1 Champions League win over Barcelona last November.

The rest of the squad play in South Africa.

South African coach Gordon Igesund was forced to make 11 changes to his original squad through injuries and clubs not releasing their players.

The games against Australia on May 26 and New Zealand four days later fall outside Fifa's international window, meaning players are not required to turn out for their countries.

"I have put together a big squad of around 34 which is young and excited about playing for the country, so those who I have called as replacements are part of that broader squad," Igesund said.

"They are very capable players. All these players are part of the group that should participate in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches for 2015 in Morocco.

"This is an opportunity for those selected to raise their hands and be counted. They are young and should compete.

"It has been a long season for most of these players and there is little I can do about injuries. Injuries are part of the game of football and there is no-one to be blamed for this."

SOUTH AFRICA SQUAD

Goalkeepers - Ronwen Williams, Senzo Meyiwa.

Defenders - Benett Nthethe, Buhlebuyeza Mkhwanazi, Thato Mokeke, Anele Ngcongca, Thabo Matlaba, Erick Mathoho.

Midfielders - Teko Modise, Oupa Manyisa, Bongani Zungu, Themba Zwane, Thulani Serero, Thuso Phala, Hlompho Kekana, Ayanda Patosi.

Strikers - Kermit Erasmus, Tokelo Rantie.

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