Former Bafana Bafana coach Clive Barker believes losing our identity was the beginning of the downfall of South African football.
Barker is still the only coach who has won a major tournament with the South African national team, with the class of 1996 lifting the Africa Cup of Nations trophy 23 years ago.
Speaking during the launch of his academy, 'The Dog' says the country failed to capitalise when they had a chance to dominate.
"No, unfortunately we are not progressing," Barker admitted.
"I think we were controlling in a degree to world football when we won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1996, but from then it's just been all the way a down slide. It's a pity about that, we could've built from there a position of strength."
Barker believes the problem began when SAFA started hiring foreign coaches and adopted their influence, which took away our original style of play.
The 75-year-old insists if the association built from our 1996 success we would be amongst the best in the world.
"When we copied, I warned them. I said if you copy the Italians, Germans, Brazilians and other countries you will never beat them, but if you play with the style we had, a particular style, we could've nurtured that and presented what we thought was the way to play football to the world," he explained.
"But unfortunately the influence of the foreign coaches, I think it was negative in different ways and we should've made sure we built on from what we did in 1996."