Rustenburg - Wayne Sandilands says he was shocked by Moeneeb Josephs's sudden retirement from international football last week, depleting the goalkeeper department to three in the current Bafana Bafana camp.
"I didn't see it coming," Sandilands said on Wednesday.
"It came as a surprise, but it's something I have to respect.
"It's his decision and not something hastily done. The decision was best for him and his family.
"It's a loss with his experience because Moeneeb is a top keeper."
Apart from Sandilands, Bafana now have Darren Keet alongside the country's number one shot stopper, Itumeleng Khune, ahead of their opening 2014 Soccer World Cup qualifiers against Ethiopia on Sunday and Botswana next week.
South Africa also play Gabon in a friendly international in Johannesburg on June 15.
Josephs, 32, turned down a call-up to the national squad last week, though Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane said on Monday the door was still open for him to return this week.
'Slimkat' issued a statement, announcing his retirement from international football and citing a desire to concentrate on his club career and spend more time with his family.
Mosimane, however, said the decision was emotional, and that team management and the SA Football Association (SAFA) had not received confirmation of his retirement.
The situation has now been dubbed an "administrative" issue, with the matter passed on to SAFA by the Bafana technical team.
The eccentric Josephs is reported to have been unhappy with playing second fiddle to Khune.
Sandilands, however, said it was difficult to make regular changes to a specialised position at international level.
Sandilands was named Goalkeeper of the Year at the Premier Soccer League's season-end awards for his good form at Mamelodi Sundowns.
"It's up to the coaches to make decisions, and you have to respect them," he said.
"Itumeleng has done well. Goalkeeping is a specialised position.
"A keeper needs to keep playing regularly in a team to have his confidence.
"You also don't play internationals week in and week.
"Itumeleng right now is playing well and needs to be pushed.
"For me, there is still a lot of work ahead, but I'm confident I'll get my chance."