Johannesburg - Bafana Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane on Friday explained the surprise omissions of Thulani Serero and Andile Jale from the South African squad to face the Ivory Coast and Zimbabwe.
"It had nothing to do with their talent or ability," he said.
"It was because of their talent and exciting prowess that they were left out so that they could direct their efforts towards helping the national under-23 side qualify for next year's Olympic Games soccer tournament in England."
Mosimane said the decision was reached in conjunction with Safa's technical staff and under-23 coach Shakes Mashaba.
"South Africa is in a particularly testing group for the Olympic Games qualifying event in Morocco at the end of the month and we will need all our resources to make it to London."
Serero, who is currently on the playing staff of Ajax Amsterdam, was voted South African Footballer of the Year in 2010 for his achievements with Ajax Cape Town.
Jali was a pivotal influence in Orlando Pirates annexing three titles during the past PSL season.
"They are not the kind of players I would have ignored.
"But I had to agree with Shakes (Mashaba) to make the players available to him as he plans his strategy for the Olympic Games qualifiers," Mosimane said.
The top three teams in the African qualifiers for the Olympic Games will automatically earn a place in the 2012 tournament in England, with the fourth-best side playing off for an additional place against a side from Asia.
"Although Bafana's game against the Ivory Coast in the annual Mandela Cup Inauguration game in Port Elizabeth next Saturday is a special occasion and a daunting challenge," said Mosimane.