These are the views of former Bafana captain Lucas Radebe.
"The NFD has long been neglected and that's a pity because it's a significant level. It's not the development but that is where you get the future stars," Radebe said.
The former Leeds United defender said Mashaba, who is in his third stint at the helm of the national side, needed time to build Bafana into a strong force.
"People need to realise that to get to the top level we need to give ourselves time and make sure that we build properly and have good structures that will support the national team going forward," said Radebe, adding that the national coach needed to spearhead the restructuring of the team.
"We need a clear vision for the next five years. If we want great players we have to build them and not just in the big teams.
"Shakes is going to focus also on the lower divisions, which is a great opportunity for the youngsters who are playing in these leagues," he said.
He also called for better cooperation between the SA Football Association and the Premier Soccer League.
While he agreed that there had been a decline in local talent being exported abroad, the man nicknamed "Rhoo" said the likes of Kaizer Chiefs centre-back Mulomowandau Mathoho and Orlando Pirates midfielder Oupa Manyisa could "make the grade" if offered a chance.
Mathoho and Manyisa have both made it into Mashaba's first squad for next month's Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.