Blackburn Rovers striker Benni McCarthy admits he's embarrassed by South Africa's demise as an African football power.
"The past few years now we haven't been getting the results that we wanted," he told weekly Soccer Laduma publication. "We haven't played the best football and we have not selected the best players that this country has.
"I think that if you play for certain teams then you get selected even though you're not good enough or not on form."
The 1996 African Nations Cup champions have endured a terrible time of late, slumping to 67th in the latest FIFA world rankings.
McCarthy said: "It's a massive shame. It's a big embarrassment for the players and the country. But things never seem to change.
"South Africa don't select their best players. If you play for (Kaizer) Chiefs and (Orlando) Pirates then you get selected, regardless of whether you are good enough or not, but hey, that's good enough for us, right?
"With the right player selection, based on merit, on what you are doing at your club, where it doesn't matter if you're from Cape Town or anywhere else in the country and it doesn't matter whether you can't speak Zulu or Xhosa or any other language, where all that counts is that you have a South African passport and are willing to play, then yes, I think we can become a force."