Kamohelo Mokotjo's spot in South Africa's squad for the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers has come into question amid the midfielder's faltering fortunes in the United States.
Mokotjo (30) is facing a race against time to play himself into contention for South Africa's upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Zimbabwe and Ghana, which are scheduled to take place at the start of September, after falling out of favour with Major League Soccer (MLS) side FC Cincinnati.
The 23-cap Bafana Bafana international has made just three league appearances this season under head coach Jaap Stam and failed to feature in any of the club's previous ten fixtures, including the last two in which he was absent from the matchday squad altogether.
His most recent appearance for Cincinnati came more than two months ago during the side's 3-0 defeat to Orlando City on 2 May in Orlando, Florida, meaning over 900 minutes of game time has elapsed since he last took to the pitch in competitive action.
Sources close to the club have informed Kickoff.com that the former Feyenoord, FC Twente and Brentford midfielder is currently "fit and has been training regularly" with the first team throughout his period of absence from the starting XI.
In Mokotjo's stead, Stam has opted to field a rotation of midfielders, including the likes of Caleb Stanko, Haris Medunjanin, Allan Cruz, Luciano Acosta and Yuya Kubo in recent matches, with an apparent preference towards players who are more suited to a box-to-box role.
The change in tactic by the former Netherlands defender has seemingly been geared towards stemming the tide of goals conceded by Cincinnati, which has seen the club leak 26 goals in 13 matches this season, the second-most in the Eastern Conference.
Ten of those strikes were conceded across the three matches Mokotjo featured in for the Orange and Blue and, if his absence is, in fact, performance-related, the Odendaalsrus-star faces a task to play himself back into contention in the coming weeks.
His current situation also casts doubt on his selection for the new South Africa head coach Hugo Broos' first squad, which is set to be announced late next month ahead of the country's World Cup qualifiers against Ghana and Zimbabwe.
Scroll through the gallery to see some of the South African stars who have played in the United States