Parreira pleased despite exit

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Addressing the media following the 1-1 draw with Senegal, in which the South Africans dominated for large periods of the game and should have won comfortably were it not for indecisive finishing, Parreira was upbeat, repeating the mantra that he was building his side for 2010.

"I am happy with the overall performance of the team during this tournament,” he said. “I know that people are disappointed that we did not qualify for the quarterfinals, but people should remember we are still in a process of building this team. We brought new faces in and they did well to hold their own against quality teams."

Captain Aaron Mokoena, who had an off-night against Senegal, agrees.

"We are going home with our heads held high. We gave it our all in this tournament, but things did not work out. We might not have achieved the results we were looking for, but the coach managed to create a pool of players that will definitely play a big role going forward. The young players did very well and should be given a chance to further their international careers.

“In fact, it is very important that happens. The past four weeks have brought us closer as players and the spirit is unbelievable. This team might not have won anything now but it will in the near future. There are still quality players who did not make the team and will want to be part of the side in 2010. I’m confident that we will have a competitive team then," he says.

Elrio van Heerden, who was without a doubt Bafana's best player in Ghana, was visibly disappointed at the end of the game, where, just like the 1-1 draw with Angola in their opening Group D match, South Africa was unable to finish the many chances they had created.

"Of course we are very disappointed not to have progressed to the quarterfinals,” he says. “We played good football and scored a couple of good goals. We need to go back to the drawing board. Personally I am happy with the way things turned out for me, having spent five months struggling with injury. It is always an honour to wear the national team jersey and I am always motivated to do well whenever I am given a chance."

Tunisia and Angola, who played to a dour 0-0 draw on Thursday, were the two countries to advance from Group D.

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