A new-look Bafana outfit led by Xulu were crowned plate winners at the regional showpiece, which also saw Zimbabwe defend the main title against Zambia over the weekend.
While it was disappointing for Stuart Baxter’s charges to have dropped out of the running for the cup in their first game, the Maritzburg United defender is delighted to have restored the pride of the nation after going on to beat Namibia and Botswana 4-1 and 3-0 respectively.
“I’m very happy for the boys, even though there was the disappointment of not winning the actual cup, but again it was just a matter of pride for the nation,” Xulu told SAFA.
“And, as the host country, we had to show that we were capable [of winning] even though we were disappointed with our first result against Madagascar.”
The 26-year-old former junior international further believes Baxter will have plenty to ponder before announcing his squad to face Libya in their second Africa Cup of Nations Group E qualifier in September.
“The tournament was very important for the young players and us as a team, and I think it’s even clear to the coach – it was up to the boys to raise their hands for the [AFCON] games,” he added.
“The coach has a bunch of good players, and it’s very important that he has a closer look [at the players]. I think the guys did well, and they deserve to be called up again.”