South Africa showed signs of promise at this tournament, taking the lead against Algeria, Senegal and Ghana, but ultimately finished with just one point from their three matches in Group C.
Their defensive capitulations against Algeria and Ghana were particularly dismal, the side displaying a worrying mental fragility. Then again, Bafana were always underdogs in the group, playing against sides all ranked in the top five in Africa.
“I think a lack of experience killed us,” said Bafana midfielder Jali after the final nail was stamped into their coffin by the 2-1 defeat to Ghana.
“We have been scoring beautiful goals and after that we sit back and they come and equalise, then we are under pressure. I think we can take the experience from this tournament back home and grow from it.
“When we score a goal we must not defend so deep – it happened several times.”
The KV Oostende midfielder, meanwhile, hopes fans will not be too critical.
“I think they can’t react after a tournament like this,” he said.
“This is the first time at the Afcon for a lot of us, they must bear with us. We worked hard to get here and now they must support us to go forward. If they kill us, we can’t bounce back, if they support us we can bounce back.”
Jali also admitted the players were a bit tired.
“In the last game we were a bit tired and it didn’t fall our way, but I think next time it is going to be on our side,” added Jali.
Twitter showed their frustration about Bafana being knocked out of Afcon.