Johannesburg - The South African women's soccer team received a warm welcome at OR Tambo International Airport on Tuesday, on their return from the African Women's Championships in Equatorial Guinea, where they won the silver medal.
South Africa lost 4-0 to Equatorial Guinea in the final on Sunday.
Coach Joseph Mkhonza said that while the team had achieved their goal of reaching the final and beating nemesis Nigeria, they would have loved to go all the way and win the title.
"We have laid a solid foundation and I hope next time we should go all the way. This team is gelling and I am confident we are heading towards a golden era for women's football in the country," said Mkhonza, who was named South African Coach of the Year last week.
Captain Amanda Dlamini said the semi-final win against Nigeria might have taken the fight out of the team, but getting so near, yet so far was not a disgrace.
SA Football Association president Kirsten Nematandani said the players had done the country proud.
"They gave it their all. As a country, we are happy and proud of these heroines," he said.