Cape Town - Midfielder Dean Furman says that Bafana Bafana can hold their heads high despite their heartbreaking exit from the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) after a 2-1 defeat to Nigeria on Wednesday.
An 89th-minute winner by centre-back Troost-Ekong from a corner broke South African hearts and booked the three-time champions Nigeria's spot in the semi-finals to face Algeria or Ivory Coast.
Despite this Furman believes that they can exit the tournament with their heads held high after knocking out hosts Egypt and being unfortunate in their defeat to the Super Eagles - despite dominating large periods of the quarter-final clash.
"They kind of sat off us in the first half and we didn't move the ball quick enough to hurt them," Furman told SuperSport. "Then they get their goal and again they sat off and waited for us to make mistakes.
"In the second half we decided to play higher up the pitch, we pressed them higher like we did the other night against Egypt and it worked for us, we came alive, got the goal and it seemed like there was only going to be one winner.
"It looked they [Nigeria] were tired and to get that goal at the end, that one is going to hurt for a while but we can hold our heads up, we fought out there, we fought for every ball, it could have very easily gone our way.
"I think everyone in this team can be proud of themselves, the way they acquitted themselves, the way they came out here. We showed flashes of brilliance, especially in the last game at times tonight some of our attacking play was great again, maybe not to the level of the Egypt game," he added.
"We caused them problems without really having that final ball but the boys can go away with their head held high, hopefully from this experience Bafana Bafana is ready to mix it with the big teams on this continent."