Nations Cup 2015: Serero returns to South Africa squad

Thulani Serero (left)

South Africa have recalled Ajax midfielder Thulani Serero for October's Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers double-header against Congo-Brazaville.

New Bafana Bafana coach Ephraim 'Shakes' Mashaba omitted the playmaker from the squad that defeated Sudan and held title-holders Nigeria earlier this month.

Although Serero is the only South African currently playing European Champions League football, he has been in and out of the national squad.

Another recalled midfielder is the 32-year-old Reneilwe Letsholonyane, who was described by former South Africa coach Gordon Igesund as being too old for international football.

The Kaizer Chiefs box-to-box workaholic has been in outstanding early season form with six goals, helping his club to 10 victories in 10 league and cup matches.

Third time lucky?
South Africa have failed to qualify for the previous two Nations Cup finals - their last appearance was in Ghana in 2008

At the other end of the age spectrum, Fagrie Lakay, who is just 17 and an Under-20 international, has earned a senior call-up. The teenage midfielder plays for Santos in the National First Division.

Leading Orlando Pirates scorer Kermit Erasmus also makes the squad, while defensive additions include Tefu Mashamaite, whose goal gave Chiefs victory over Pirates last weekend in the Top 8 Cup final, and Kwanda Mngonyama of Maritzburg United.

Congo lead Group A with maximum points after a shock away win over Nigeria and a routine home victory over Sudan. South Africa have four points, Nigeria one and Sudan none.

The top two finishers are guaranteed places at the 2015 finals in Morocco while the best of the seven third-place teams after the final qualifiers in mid-November also qualify.

Goalkeepers: Darren Keet (Kortrijk/BEL), Senzo Meyiwa (Orlando Pirates, capt), Dumisani Msibi (SuperSport Utd)

Defenders: Rivaldo Coetzee, Ayabulele Magqwaka (both Ajax Cape Town), Tefu Mashamaite, Erick Mathoho (both Kaizer Chiefs), Thulani Hltatshwayo (Wits University), Sibusiso Khumalo (SuperSport), Thabo Matlaba (Pirates), Kwanda Mngonyama (Maritzburg Utd), Anele Ngcongca (Genk/BEL)

Midfielders: Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Mandla Masango (both Chiefs), Keegan Dolly (Ajax Cape Town), Dean Furman (Doncaster/ENG), Andile Jali (Ostend/BEL), Oupa Manyisa (Pirates), Thulani Serero (Ajax Amsterdam/NED), Sibusiso Vilakazi (Wits), Themba Zwane (Mamelodi Sundowns)

Strikers: Kermit Erasmus (Pirates), Fagrie Lakay (Santos), Bongani Ndulula (AmaZulu), Tokelo Rantie (Bournemouth/ENG), David Zulu (Chippa Utd)

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