Johannesburg - Defensive frailties cost South Africa dearly and let the team down at during their Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) campaign, Bafana Bafana captain Dean Furman said on Wednesday.
"We came here with high hopes and, realistically, we let ourselves down in a similar way in all the three games and that is something we have to look into," Furman said in the aftermath of South Africa's 2-1 capitulation to Ghana in Mongomo on Tuesday night.
"We took the lead brilliantly and we played some outstanding football throughout the tournament. We have a lot of positives to talk about but we have to look at where we went wrong."
Bafana were sent crashing out of AFCON after relinquishing a one-goal lead for a third match in a row, having taken the lead through Mandla Masango's wonder-goal after 17 minutes.
John Boye's equaliser on 73 minutes, however, took the game away from Furman and his troops and, when Andre Ayew scored the winner seven minutes from the end, South Africa's tournament ended in misery, having claimed a single point from three games.
"We took three teams all the way and we were in a position to beat three top teams on this continent, and to go crushing out with only one point to show for it is a major disappointment for us.
"We have to turn our performances back into victories and points. In tournament football there is no time for performances or plaudits, it's all about points and that is something we need to learn as well, however we get the points we must make sure we get them."
Furman, who said he would cherish the experience of captaining the national team for the rest of his career, felt the future looked bright for South African football.
"It looks great. The Under-20s just won a tournament in Russia and we are proud of them.
"There are a lot of youngsters in this Bafana Bafana team making their first AFCON appearance and maybe, at times, their lack of experience showed a little bit but we will only be stronger for it going forward and will definitely learn a lot from this tournament."
Bafana were due to arrive back in Johannesburg at 6.30am on Thursday.