Mashaba’s Bafana were knocked out of Group C in Equatorial Guinea without winning a single game in their three matches.
They lost to Ghana 2-1and Algeria 3-1 while they drew 1-1 against Senegal.
This meant they returned home with only a single point with Ghana and Algeria going through to the last eight.
“We do not see this as a failure,” Mashaba said.
“We see this as a phase we must go through in order to achieve our goal.”
Bafana touched down today at OR Tambo International airport having been delayed in West Africa since Thursday.
The national side were delayed by the Local Organising Committee in Equatorial Guinea as they did not book them their flight back home in time.
Mashaba said being knocked out of the continental showpiece was not a tragedy but a set up for greatness.
“This setback has sharpened us for the future,” he said.
“We must just take positives from the whole exercise and use them going forward.”
Mashaba’s president Danny Jordaan was quoted during the week saying he will sit down with his technical team to map the way forward.
Many may describe this as something which should make the coach be scared about the security of his job but Jordaan reiterated that this was just a report back from the tournament.
Mashaba’s boys showed some glimpses of the future but still showed that they lack the necessary experience needed at this level.