McCarthy was left out of the squad for the 2008 Nations Cup
Benni McCarthy has blamed the South Africa Football Association (Safa) for the national team's demise.
The 1996 African champions have endured a terrible time of late, slumping to 67th in the latest Fifa world rankings.
The England-based striker claims players are selected for Bafana Bafana depending on the status of their club rather than on merit.
He said: "We haven't played the best football and we have not selected the best players that this country has.
"It's more about who you play for or who you are rather than your form when the national team is selected.
"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 Blackburn forward, who has had a tempestuous relationship with Safa in recent years, believes the current state of Bafana Bafana is a "massive shame".
The 30-year-old said: "It's a massive shame. It's a big embarrassment for the players and the country. But things never seem to change.
I think that if you play for certain teams then you get selected even though you're not good enough or not on form
"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 then yes, I think we can become a force."
The Blackburn Rovers forward is no stranger to controversy having failed to report to training on numerous occasions after being called up for national duty.
Last year, he was talked out of an 18-month international exile by previous national coach Carlos Alberto Parreira.
However, after helping the country qualify for the 2008 African Nations Cup, he was surprisingly left out of the squad for the tournament in Ghana as Parreira opted for younger players with a view to the 2010 World Cup.
He was handed a recall by new coach Joel Santana earlier this year, but again failed to turn up at training and was subsequently suspended for four matches.
He added: "If the manager feels he wants to select me, he can select me. I'm available.
"If I'm not selected it's because they feel they can do without me, I'm not needed and I have to accept that and get on with my life."
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.