The South African football association has confirmed that Eric Mathoho has been ruled out of Amaglug-glug's crucial Rio Olympics Group A clash with Iraq.
The Kaizer Chiefs defender picked up an ankle injury during the last 10 minutes of the team's 1-0 defeat to Denmark.
The SA under-23s have to beat Iraq and hope that the result between Brazil and Denmark goes in their favour if they are to reach the quarter-finals of the tournament.
The centre-back's absence comes as something of a blow to Owen Da Gama's side as his experience in the back four was seen as an asset.
The Glamour Boys star was selected as one of the U23s over-age players for the men's soccer competition in Brazil.
Another player expected to play no part is striker Lebo Mothiba – the national football association's official website also confirmed he had been ruled out with a suspected case of chickenpox.
Meanwhile, Abbubaker Mobara is expected to be fit – the versatile player picked up what appeared to be a hamstring strain against Denmark, however, it has been confirmed he is available for selection.
Amaglug-glug's clash with Iraq gets underway from 03:00 (SA time on Thursday) at Corinthians Arena in Sao Paulo.