Coach Stuart Baxter gave a total of 11 debuts in the quarterfinal against Tanzania in Phokeng and the laaities disappointed in their 1-0 defeat, ending their reign as champions.
Baxter gave eight players their first start in the national team jersey. And while they weren’t horrible, they were frustrating.
Bafana played the smoother football and when they were on the ball they looked good.
Attacking midfielder Liam Jordan took the experimental side’s first shot in anger in the seventh minute from a cross after a break down the right flank.
The U20 striker’s left-footed effort was pushed out for a corner.
It set the pattern of SA’s attack, with winger Riyaad Norodien tormenting his leftback.
But Bafana seemed to only be focusing their attacks around targetman Judas Moseamedi.
The Cape Town City striker had the ball in the net in the 17th minute, but the Tanzanians had stopped playing already by the time he fired home.
Replays showed that the goal had wrongfully been called offside.
And it hurt even more after Tanzania scored an almost identical goal, which stood, immediately afterwards through Elias Maguri with debutant goalkeeper Boafela Pule failing to keep out the strike.
Bafana then took the game to the east Africans, with late call-up Cole Alexander pulling the strings in midfield.
Norodien kept being fed out on the right and the Orlando Pirates man would keep looking for Moseamedi in the box, with very little end product.
After the break, SA were less predictable as Jamie Webber was pushed out to the right wing.
And the Stellenbosch FC teenager set up Alexander after a great run, but the former Ajax Cape Town man could not get the decisive touch at the near post.
Webber had the chance to pull the trigger in the 65th minute, but looked for another pass instead as they looked for the equaliser.
Baxter’s young side got more and more desperate and hit too many long balls into Moseamedi as they lost the confidence to play.
Lorenzo Gordinho summed it all up at the end, when he fired over the goal from close range in added time.
South Africa will now face Botswana in the Plate tomorrow.