South Africa failed to keep the momentum of support from the millions of locals who had pinned their hopes on the team after some impressive performance earlier in the Orange African Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament which saw them reach the quarter finals over the weekend.
Coach Gordon Igesund had promised South Africans that they would compete in the finals but the team bowed out of the 2013 AFCON after buckling under pressure and losing 3-1 to Mali in a penalty shoot out, after the match had ended on 1-1 at extra time.
Three of Bafana’s four penalty takers fluffed their lines from the penalty spot. Siphiwe Tshabalala was the only player to score from the spot for South Africa in a match which saw the host nation take the lead through Tokelo Rantie. But his goal was cancelled out by Seydou Keita early in the second half.
Mali kept their nerve in the shootout, scoring all three of their attempts. South Africa started the match like a house on fire, putting Mali under pressure and getting the home crowd excited right from the start. Bafana Bafana will now concentrate on qualifying for the 2014 world Cup in Brazil.
Soccer officials across the country have however praised Igesund and his team for a "good" show and SAFA has supported the coach to keep his job possibly until the 2018 World Cup in Russia "and even up to 2022".