The Amajita national U20 men's side went down 2-1 to Guinea in the CAF U20 Africa Cup of Nations third/fourth place play-off on Sunday afternoon, meaning they lost out on a bronze medal.
Having achieved their first mandate of reaching the FIFA U20 World Cup in South Korea in May, by making the semi-final at this tournament, coach Thabo Senong fielded fringe players in this encounter.
Despite gaining greater possession throughout the match, Amajita's backline problems resurfaced again.
First, they conceded an own goal from what looked an innocuous situation and then, when both teams had all but resigned themselves to a penalty shootout, captain Tercious Malepe conceded a penalty when he handled in the box. That consigned South Africa to fourth place.
Liam Jordan had opened the scoring for South Africa in the fifth minute after a great through ball by Sipho Mbule. However, just two minutes later Guinea found themselves back on equal term when Katlego Mohamme scored an own goal as he headed past goalkeeper Sanele Tshabalala. His looping header gave Tshabalala no chance.
Amajita then had numerous chances to go ahead again but spurned them, something they were left to regret.
Guinea were forced to make a substitution at the beginning of the second half after Daouda Camara was forced to come off due to injury and he was replaced by Naby Bangoura.
The second half saw both sides create scoring opportunities but goalkeepers Tshabalala and Moussa Camara stood out with their world class saves.
Coach Thabo Senong made two changes with Luther Singh coming on in the 53rd minute and Sibongakonke Mbatha in the 60th minute.
But it was Guinea substitute Naby Bangoura who had the final say of the match when he scored from the penalty spot.
'This has been a great tournament and I'm very happy that all the players got a chance to play. Guinea are a good team and we had chances, especially in the first half where we could have at least had two goals and seal the match,' said Senong.
'Unfortunately we conceded an own goal and the penalty which are part of bizarre things we always try to avoid in the game of football,' said Senong.
Amajita starting line-up
South African starting XI: Sanele Tshabalala (GK); Katlego Mohamme; Aghmat Ceres; Tercious Malepe (C); Siyabonga Ngezana; Grant Margeman; Wiseman Meyiwa; Liam Jordan; Sipho Mbule; Kobamelo Kodisang; Itumeleng Shopane