Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi on Thursday revealed that club captain Hlompho Kekana is not guaranteed as a first-team starter this season.
Kekana saw his role reduced to a squad player last season at Chloorkop, making just 15 league appearances.
The 36-year-old is currently in the second year of a five-year contract but has seen his role reduced after an overhaul of the reigning league champions' technical team.
Co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi has now reiterated that Kekana will be treated with the same respect despite his reduced playing time.
"Hlompho is still with us; we love him, and he is our legend; he is our captain," Mngqithi said.
"But the only part that is always going to be an issue again is the number of games he got last season compared to the number of games he is likely to play this season.
"That is a very serious catch 22 situation because we like him, and we are happy with him.
"But what if he doesn't want to play fewer games because the truth of the matter is it's not only about us only. It's also about him also.
"If he wants to stay and help us in the changeroom, he is a very important player, so be it. But the truth of the matter is at this stage as a club, we are happy with him, and we are also wary of his wishes as well.
"So we will have to listen to him. Whatever comes from him, we will take it very seriously.
"But he has to be treated with a lot of respect because he has served the club well.
"He is probably one captain who has lifted more trophies than any other captain in the team," Mngqithi added.
Mamelodi Sundowns are set to host Kaizer Chiefs in the MTN8 game at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Sunday.
Scroll through the gallery below to see Sundowns' new home & away kits for this season