South Africa, which was the only non-West African nation left in the tournament, leaves the competition without a loss after regular time.
"This tournament has been fantastic," Igesund said. "I think we have made huge strides. We got better and better as the tournament went on. The improvement we made (was) fantastic. This team has come a long way not only in the way they play but also off the field."
South Africa hosted the African Cup the only time it won the tournament, in 1996, and was runner-up two years later in Burkina Faso in what has been its best finish since then.
"Obviously it's disappointing, but we will pick ourselves up and then we will go on from there," Furman said. "I think everyone had to dig deep. It shows we got a lot to go forward. We lost, we are very disappointed, but we've got a lot of confidence to take from the tournament and we believe that this team can go a long way."
Next for South Africa is to try to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The team is currently third in Group A of the continent's qualifying tournament.
"We are out of the (African Cup) right now but there are many positives," team captain Bongani Khumalo said. "We have to take what we can and move forward from this experience."
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