Bafana Bafana boss Hugo Broos has explained the reasons behind Njabulo Ngcobo's omission from the squad for next month's 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Broos announced his final 23-man squad on Tuesday for South Africa's upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Zimbabwe and Ghana, with eight players cut from the preliminary selection he named last week.
Among the most notable absentees is Kaizer Chiefs centre-back Njabulo Ngcobo who has missed out on a spot in the squad despite being named as the PSL Defender of the Season and starring at the COSAFA Cup last month.
"It is not to say he won't be there the next time, but I have to choose," Broos explained when asked about the reasons behind the 27-year-old's exclusion.
"I had 31 players and I had to choose. You have to make a choice and sometimes it is a tactical choice, and sometimes it is a choice because you need a certain type of defender, and that's what happened with Ngcobo. I know he's a good defender and he will get a chance in the next months.
"Maybe there will be other players who are also disappointed but this is my first [squad selection] and maybe after Ghana, I will say to myself, 'Ah, maybe this and one and this one, I shouldn't have decided [against selected them]'.
"The first choice is always the first choice but again, this is not the final choice, certainly not."
Broos will take charge of Bafana Bafana for the first time on 3 September when the national team takes on Zimbabwe in Harare, before returning home for the clash against Ghana in Johannesburg three days later.
Scroll through the gallery to see the 10 highest-ranked African nations ahead of next month’s World Cup qualifiers