Johannesburg - Top CAF coach Ben Koufie warned the SA Football Association (SAFA) on Friday about the danger of trying to "fit square pegs into round holes".
Ghanaian-born Koufie was in South Africa to conduct a crash course for 12 present and former Bafana Bafana coaches, who were inducted into the recently-formulated CAF Category A coaching strata.
"You have just beaten the world champions, Spain, which is no mean achievement, but when it comes to African status, you were not even able to feature among the top 10 teams who vied for the continent's five places at next year's World Cup in Brazil," he said.
"South Africa won the African Nations Cup in 1996, reached the final in 1998 and were placed third in 2000, but since then, nothing, so there must be something wrong somewhere."
Koufie said South Africa had by far the best soccer facilities in Africa, a wealth of potential talent and financial resources which were unmatched on the continent.
Yet, the country had sunk into the soccer doldrums for much of the past dozen years or so.
The CAF coach commended the newly-formulated SAFA development programme, which has been designed to end the country's soccer slump, but he warned that it would not be worth the paper it was written on if it was not put into the right practical course.
"Paramount in this respect is to not fit square pegs into round holes when choosing the people who will put the master plan into effect.
"You must have the right people doing the right work, and I am gratified to see the country's former coaches all here to show that they are ready to give a hand in helping South African soccer back to where it once was and belongs."
Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula presented Category A credentials to coaches such as "Screamer" Tshablala, Augusto Palacios, Jomo Sono and Shakes Mashaba, from Bafana's formative years, and current head coach Gordon Igesund.
"Undoubtedly, this has been a memorable week for South African soccer, in view of the inspiring win over Spain," Mbalula said.
"This is now a stimulant to keep moving forward."
Mbalula warned that Koufie's views should be heeded and there was no easy road ahead to restore South African soccer to a level among the world's top nations.