Cape Town - South Africa midfielder Andile Jali feels a lack of experience cost the side dearly after they finished rock bottom of Group C at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.
Read: 'Bafana should not be ashamed'
Bafana Bafana had taken the lead in all of their three group games in Equatorial Guinea, but on all occasions they allowed the opposition back in to eventually finish the tournament with just a single point.
The former Orlando Pirates midfielder has lamented South Africa's inability to hold on to their leads, saying: "Experience counts. We are scoring beautiful goals and after that we sit back, allowing them to come back and equalise, which puts us under pressure.
"We've now learnt that when you score first you should not defend so deep.
“It happened several times. In a tournament like this, you should never sit back after scoring first.
“I think the lack of experience led to us sitting back a lot of the time to try and protect the goal."
Jali is, however, confident Bafana are headed in the right direction, but called for patience from their supporters as they look to forge a team capable of competing on the continent.
"They (the fans) can't react (in anger) after a tournament like this. It was the first time here for most of us," Jali said.
"I think they must bear with us because we worked hard to get here.
“They must support us to go forward because if they kill our confidence we can't bounce back. But their support means we can maybe bounce back in another tournament."