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Mon Apr 21 09:05:48 SAST 2014

Serero almost came home

TEAMtalk Media | 19 September, 2012 13:420 Comments
Bafana Bafana playmaker Thulani Serero has returned to the Ajax Amsterdam squad and is looking to make an impression in tonight's Champions League match against Borussia Dortmund

Ajax Amsterdam midfielder Thulani Serero admits he came close to returning to South Africa after a low period in his European adventure.

Serero made waves in the PSL when he so nearly guided Ajax Cape Town to a league title in 2010/2011 campaign - only to end up in second place behind Orlando Pirates.

But he had done enough to convince the Dutch giants to sign him after claiming the PSL Footballer of the Year, the PSL Player of the Season, the PSL Players' Player of the Season: 2011 and the Absa Premiership Red Hot Young Player in Premier Soccer League.

Serero had to be patient as he waited for his chance to shine in Amsterdam and after struggling with injuries, and extended periods out of the side, he has started to rediscover his best form once again - but only after a kick up the backside, in the form of a potential backwards step to the PSL, on loan with Ajax.

In response to a return to Cape Town, he told The Sowetan: "That's when I realised that there was something that I was clearly not doing right.

"It was a wake-up call to me to say you either pull up your socks or catch the next plane back to Johannesburg to play in the Premier Soccer League.

"I also could not believe it because a few months ago, everybody was talking about me after winning four or five awards at the PSL end-of-season awards.

"I think I relaxed a little bit a few months after arriving at Ajax. I was more comfortable; I did not work hard anymore, thinking it was going to be easy.

"There was talk of the club releasing me on loan with Foppe (ex Ajax boss Foppe de Haan) having made it clear they were keen to sign me.

"I worked hard at training after I was invited to join the team at the pre-season.

"Everything is going according to plan - it feels good to be a regular again," said Serero, who has no plans to return home any time soon.

"I want to build a name for myself here in Europe like Lucas Radebe, Aaron Mokoena and Steven Pienaar. The only thing that will kick me out of this team is injury.

"I know there is concern back home that local players come back after one or two seasons in Europe. I will fight to remain in the starting line-up."

Serero may get his chance to shine in the Champions League this season after coach Frank de Boer named him in his squad to take on Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday evening.

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