Blackburn boss Mark Hughes has admitted he was surprised to hear that Benni McCarthy had been left out of South Africa's squad for the African Nations Cup.
Hughes was expecting to be without his 30 year old leading goalscorer for up to a month in the New Year whilst he participated in the tournament, which is taking place in Ghana in January.
There was a suggestion, denied by Hughes, that a deal had been struck with the South African FA.
"It was a surprise to Benni initially that he got called back into the squad earlier this year," Hughes told the Lancashire Telegraph.
"But it was a new manager and, obviously, he wanted to see what options he had.
"Maybe that's behind it.
"I'd have to speak to Benni because I was unaware of it.
"We haven't put any pressure on Benni or South Africa not to include him, and we were preparing to be without him."