Thulani Serero has been left out of South Africa’s 23-man squad for this month Africa Cup of Nations.
The 24-year-old Ajax midfielder is one of four players cut from Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba’s provisional selection for the 17 January to 8 February finals in Equatorial Guinea.
“Serero is not in the squad because other players proved to be better than him,” explained Mashaba.
But Bournemouth forward Tokelo Rantie has made the final list. Rantie, who has scored twice in the English Championship this season, is expected to be one of the team’s key players, along with Doncaster midfielder Dean Furman, Andile Jali and Eric Mathoho.
And Kaizer Chiefs striker Bernard Parker is back in the squad for the first time since March when he played in the 5-0 defeat by Brazil.
His 23 goals in 68 internationals put him third on the country’s all-time scoring list behind Benni McCarthy and Shaun Bartlett.
Elsewhere, SuperSport United midfielder Thuso Phala and Chippa United midfielder Thamsanqa Sangweni are surprise inclusions in the squad.
Bafana Bafana has been drawn in Group C where they will take on Algeria, Ghana and Senegal.