Gambia coach Tom Saintfiet says he is disappointed not to have Hamburg star Bakery Jatta for this month's Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers but understands his situation.
The former refugee has asked to be left out for the matches against Angola on 13 November and DR Congo five days later at home.
The 21 year-old was named in the Belgian's provisional squad but has asked to be excused so he can concentrate on his club for the time being.
"Naturally as a coach you're always disappointed if one of your good players cannot come," Saintfiet told BBC Sport.
"I was hoping he would be here because he's performing very well in Germany for Hamburg and he would add something to our team in these important games against strong opponents like DR Congo and Angola."
Jatta has been in the news over the past months his identity and age was questioned by three German clubs, a case that was later dismissed.
"We spoke and he explained his situation and I understand what happened the last month's it was not easy for him", Saintfiet said.
"Everything in the media and all the discussions and everything that he would like to at this moment not create any new stories but focus on Hamburg.
"I respect his decision but naturally as coach am disappointed I selected him because I wanted him to come just like any other player I select.
"He's a very good player and together with all our other good players he would make a very strong squad.
"So disappointed but I have to look forward and I still have many good players who are coming we would create strong team for these difficult games coming."
With just nine days before taking on Angola the Belgian is still examining his options before finalising his squad.
Morocco based forward Mohammed Badamosi is a doubt after suffering a groin injury last week but Saintfiet said the player wants to play.
Salford City defender Ibou Touray is also unlikely to be available as he too wants to concentrate with his club alongside Racing Santander striker Nuha Marong.