Cape Town - Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter admits that star striker Lebo Mothiba played with a hip flexor problem against Nigeria in Cairo.
The Super Eagles advanced to the semi-final of the Africa Cup of Nations after defeating South Africa 2-1 on Wednesday night.
Mothiba, leading Bafana Bafana's attack, started the match but failed to have any impact due to a strong Nigerian defensive line and poor decision making in the final third of the pitch when attacking.
Baxter revealed that the RC Strasbourg forward was selected after he underwent a fitness test the night before.
However, the 23-year-old who failed to score any goals at AFCON did not finish the match, and Lars Veldwijk replaced forward in the 80th minute.
"I think it's important that the players feel the trust of the coach in every situation and Lebo came to me last night with the doctor and said that he had a hip flexor problem," Baxter said of Mothiba who picked up the hip problem during the French Ligue 1 season.
"We tested him, and he could play. That's why I took him off at the finish, he's hip flexor was sore I don't think he played badly.
"He's a young player, playing against very experienced players and playing in a very difficult game... he doesn't play a man-of-the-match performance every week is not a surprise.
"But I thought he played okay. He did his job. He just played against good players and in the first half he didn't get good service too, but we took him off because he had a little bit of an injury."
Baxter and the rest of the Bafana Bafana squad will arrive in South Africa on Thursday or Friday (TBC).