Cape Town - Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter says there is no truth to suggestions that he has been favouring SuperSport United players in the national team setup.
Baxter led Matsatsantsa to victory in the Nedbank Cup final last season before taking up the Bafana Bafana job in a full-time capacity.
A 2-0 away win over Nigeria in a 2019 AFCON qualifier was a perfect start to the Englishman's second stint in charge of South Africa.
However, a 1-2 defeat away to Cape Verde in a 2018 World Cup qualifier on Friday night has left Bafana Bafana's hopes of making it to Russia hanging somewhat in the balance although, sitting just one point behind leaders Burkina Faso, they are still very much in contention.
But with Baxter having recalled veteran Morgan Gould to the national team, as well as adding defender Clayton Daniels as a late replacement for Rivaldo Coetzee, and bringing in goalkeeper coach Andre Arendse to replace Alex Heredia, there has been talk of a SuperSport bias.
Other SuperSport players in the national side include goalkeepers Ronwen Williams and Reyaad Pieterse, as well as midfielder Dean Furman and striker Bradley Grobler.
But Baxter has played down talk of Matsatsantsa favouritism, explaining that at late notice, he needed players that understood well his methodology.
"Alex Heredia, at short notice, went to Philadelphia and Andre is the one we pulled in because he is local, close to the camp and he knows what I want," Baxter was quoted saying by the Sunday Independent.
"And also, when you've got Reyaad and Ronwen, they are comfortable with him and we were going into a high-pressure situation.
"There is a logic there - it's not just selection with heartstrings. I wouldn't work like that, in terms of favours or picking with your previous loyalties.
"There is that and there is the centre-backs. Unfortunately we had to withdraw Rivaldo (Coetzee). When you can get someone local that is great because he can attach himself to the camp quickly, then he's got to know what you want, and Clayton does.
"And then with set plays we don't have to do a lot of work, players don't have to go in like a rabbit in the headlights when you get bombarded with set plays in the last minute.
"Are there other candidates in this country for the centre-back position? Of course there are. And the goalkeepers? Of course there are. But in here and now, we are not talking about development, or three years down the line, Russia or the Africa Cup of Nations.
“We are talking about someone being able to go in now and do a job."