Bafana Bafana kingpin Percy 'Lion of Judah' Tau will reportedly not be roaring for the national team in the two upcoming friendlies over the next 10 days.
Several Sunday reports said Tau has withdrawn for "personal reasons" and no one in the South African Football Association's media department was able to shed light on the matter.
Tau's absence will be a blow for Bafana Bafana. Their coach Hugo Broos will be keen to start his preparations for the start of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers next month and the Nations Cup finals in January and February with settled combinations in upcoming matches. Tau would certainly be assured of a place in Broos' starting line-up.
The "personal reasons" may be that Tau has decided to manage his workload and in that way help to prevent injuries. The last time Tau was in the national squad he said that his Egyptian club Al Ahly seldom played him for the full duration of a match and frequently he was substituted in the second half.
Tau battling to make a start for Al Ahly
Latey Tau has also been named on Al Ahly's bench and played in the second half.
Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Mduduzi Mdantsane will take Tau's place and AmaKhosi will welcome his inclusion after Broos initially cold-shouldered 'The Phefeni Glamour Boys'.
Mdantsane has hardly played of late and has struggled to make the matchday squads, but Broos is a fine judge of talent although his inclusion at this stage may well be a stop-gap measure.
The national squad will be in camp this week ahead of Friday's friendly against lowly eSwatini (world-ranked 144) at a Gauteng venue. Playing in Gauteng has been a nightmare for Bafana Bafana because the proverbial one man and his dog pitched up for matches over the last while.
SAFA have yet to announce the venue for Friday's match.
Last month, eSwatini produced a shock result when it held hosts Burkina Faso (58) to a goalless draw in Morocco. Burkina Faso is ranked higher than South Africa (65).
On Saturday, Bafana will fly out to the Ivory Coast for a friendly next Tuesday in Abidjan.
The Ivorians are two-time African champions (1992, 2015) and their squad is entirely made of foreign-based players, some of whom play in Europe's leading leagues.
The Ivory Coast squad includes former England international Wilfried Zaha, who later switched allegiance to 'The Elephants' and made his Ivorian debut at Afcon 2017. He has since been capped 31 times for Ivory Coast.