Manchester - As the wash-up of another failed Proteas performance at a Cricket World Cup continues, there are uncertain times ahead for the sport in South Africa.
There were no great expectations heading into the 2019 tournament, but nobody saw things going this badly.
Five defeats from eight matches with wins over Afghanistan and Sri Lanka and a 'no result' with the West Indies. That's all South Africa have to show for their efforts in England.
It's a performance that will never be good enough for such a proud and expectant cricketing nation and it has pushed the Cricket South Africa (CSA) leadership firmly into the spotlight.
Already, CSA president Chris Nenzani has said that "heads will roll" while CEO Thabang Moroe told media this week that the Proteas' inability to deal with pressure needs to be addressed.
The uncertainty surrounding the immediate future, though, lies off the field.
CSA had initially predicted a loss of around R650 million for the next three years, but the leadership has committed to dropping that to around R350 million through budget constraints and a proposed domestic restructure.
There are two major projects that need to work for them if they are to stop the rot.
The first of those is shaping up to be a major battle between CSA and the South African Cricketers Association (SACA).
CSA wants to expand the current domestic system from six professional franchises to 12, but SACA are not buying in just yet.
Led by their chief executive Tony Irish and with around 300 professional players behind them, SACA are demanding that CSA reveal a comprehensive plan of exactly how an expansion would benefit the sport financially.
One concern is that doubling the number of professional players in South Africa will dilute the overall product. The other is that there is only so much money to go around and that the existing professionals might have their financial ceilings capped to accommodate the new intake of players.
This issue has a long way to go before any finality is reached, but the longer it lingers on for the worse it looks to both the public and any potential investors.
Resolving the domestic structure is a priority for Moroe and his leadership team, but it doesn't stop there.
The second edition of the Mzansi Super League (MSL) has been given the green light to go ahead at the end of this year, and its success is imperative.
The 2018 edition was signed off at the final hour despite the absence of a broadcast deal and with a modest intake of overseas-based players.
While there were clear positives to emerge from the inaugural edition, including the fact that it was eventually screened free-to-air on the SABC, the tournament is understood to have made a reported loss of around R80 million in its first year.
The MSL, particularly after the failed T20 Global League saga of 2017, is Moroe's baby and its success is crucial to his legacy as CSA boss.
More significantly, the product has been identified as the answer to the financial challenges facing CSA.
The point is that if the CSA leadership does not get over these two massive hurdles unscathed, then what happens on the field and the fortunes of the Proteas might not be the priority anymore.
That can never happen.
Finding a way to rectify on-field matters and getting the Proteas back to the top of the pile in world cricket must always take precedence.
It will take cricketing minds, though, and while Moroe clearly has many strengths in terms of administration and business savviness, he and his Exco could do with some help in getting things moving in the right direction, cricket-wise.
Corrie van Zyl is the current General Manager: Cricket at CSA, but perhaps the time has come for CSA to consider a Director of Cricket role – somebody with free reign to make appointments across all levels of national representation.
With CSA and the future of the domestic game at a crossroads - financially and structurally - the administration needs to be freed up to focus on all things off-field while a team needs to be assembled to get things right on the field.
A four-year plan leading into 2023 is a must to avoid another disaster like 2019 and the Proteas are in desperate need of a leadership group that is equipped to make the right coaching, captaincy and player appointments in the weeks, months and years to come.
In the absence of any obvious options, former players and coaches must be consulted as CSA go to all corners to ensure that they do not make any hasty calls.
It is a crucial time, and the likes of Moroe and Nenzani have enough on their plates without trying to pinpoint where the Proteas went wrong in England.
Leave the cricket to the cricketers, and get CSA's house in order first.
@LloydBurnard is in England covering the 2019 Cricket World Cup for Sport24 ...