They were almost knocked out of the tournament before an 86th minute equaliser by defender Siyabonga Sangweni in their final group game against Morocco saw them sneak through.
"The fear has left us now. We had a lot of pressure on us in the first round, in fact there was pressure on all the teams, but as hosts we had extreme pressure," Igesund told a news conference on Friday.
"For the first time now I feel I have a team. I realise that after the Morocco game the squad have the right team spirit where they realise that no one is a star and that the guy next to them is working as hard as they are for success."
South Africa seemed to freeze in the cold conditions that marked the start of the finals, drawing two of their three group games.
"We know what is a stake and the qualities of our team and that of the opponent (Mali)," Igesund said before adding he would make changes to the starting lineup.
Although the coach declined to give any details, he is likely to inject more power into midfield by bringing back Kagisho Dikgacoi.