Bafana Bafana

Serero in action for Bafana Bafana back in 2018. Photo by PHILL MAGAKOE / AFP)

Everything you need to know about Bafana Bafana outcast Thulani Serero

Thulani “Cream” Serero was supposed to rise to the top for Bafana Bafana, but it hasn’t quite panned out that way.

Bafana Bafana

Serero in action for Bafana Bafana back in 2018. Photo by PHILL MAGAKOE / AFP)

Bafana Bafana haven’t given Thulani Serero an international cap since November 2019.

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Thulani Serero: Why didn’t “cream” rise to the top for Bafana Bafana?

It’s a strange situation, given the undoubted ability in the the ex-Ajax Amsterdam and Vitesse Arnhem midfielders boots. So where did it go wrong for him and the national team? Let’s take a quick look at his career journey.

Serero’s sizzling start

In the early days of his career, Serero dazzled for Ajax Cape Town as an attacking midfielder. A Classic number 10. He was named as the PSL player of the season in 2010-11, rewarding his creative displays for the Mother City side.

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Bafana Bafana
Bafana Bafana midfielder Thulani Serero. Image: Samuel Shivambu via BackpagePix

A Dutch adventure

Thulani Serero has spent the majority of his playing career in Holland’s Eredivisie. He was with Ajax Amsterdam for six years from 2011-2017, where he made 121 appearances for the club, including 11 in the UEFA Champions League.

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One pretty cool thing about Serero is that once upon a time, he formed a super efficient midfield partnership with current Arsenal skipper Martin Ødegaard. The pair dovetailed wonderfully at Vitesse Arnhem in 2018 and 2019 with “Cream” as the deepest-lying player in the Vitesse midfield and Ødegaard shuttling ahead of him in the number 8 role. Not dissimilar to how he currently operates with the Gunners.

mikel arteta
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta relays tactical instructions to his skipper Martin Ødegaard. Image via AFP

Bafana Bafana fallout

No matter what the reasoning, it’s a shame that Serero never produced his best for the national team. 43 caps isn’t a bad tally by any means, but a player of his quality and European experience should have been more instrumental for his country. There were some disciplinary issues along the way, but that’s often part of the package with talented footballers.

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“Cream” rising to the top in the UAE

Right now, the 32-year-old is a key operator for Al Jazira where he has played in all 10 of their league encounters so far this season. They are currently five points off the pace in the UAE Pro League title race.

Do you see a way back into the Bafana Bafana fold for Thulani Serero, or has that horse well and truly bolted? Hit us up in the comments.


Meanwhile, you can get more insights, analysis and love for the beautiful game from James Freemantle

Also keep up on daily World Cup trivia via football stats nerd foodball_za.