DIDIER Drogba, Samuel Eto'o and Yaya Toure are championship winners with their respective European teams.
But their excellent performances overseas have not translated to their national teams and in the 2010 World Cup African teams -Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Cameroon - have all promised so much but then delivered very little.
While common logic has put the blame at the feet of the global superstar who is happy to die for his European team but brings to his national team only mediocrity, former Bafana Bafana midfielder Helman "Midnight Express" Mkhalele and former Zambian captain Kalusha Bwalya disagree.
Mkhalele, who played for Turkish sides Kayserispor, Ankaragu and Goztepe, hold the administrators responsible and said the game was not genuinely taken seriously on the continent.
"The administrators are the continent's biggest downfall. Clearly the players can perform. They are helping big European teams to win big championships. But the Africans have failed to tap into that. The people running the sport have failed to create an environment conducive to favourable results," Mkhalele said.
He reckons there is an alarming over-reliance on short cuts on this continent.
"It says a lot that Ghana (who reached the quarterfinals of the World Cup) did not fire the coach and were the last team standing from Africa in the tournament.
"Coaches are hired and before you know it they are fired. No other industry does that. People just want instant success. Now it has to be back to the drawing board."
Bwalya said African teams should learn from their disastrous campaigns and copy Ghana's winning ways, for instance their successful blooding of youngsters.
"I would not say Africa failed, though. The competition just overwhelmed them. As someone who has been there I know I have lost matches I should not have and won some I should have lost," he said.
"It is unfortunate. But right now, I will support and observe and leave the teams to do their own analysis."