Panama coach Hernan Dario Gomez says the gap between Central and South American nations is still a big one following his side's exit from the Copa America Centenario at the hands of Chile.
Defending Copa champions Chile overturned an early deficit against Panama, with Eduardo Vargas and Alexis Sanchez each scoring twice in a 4-2 win on Tuesday.
While Panama did offer Chile some nervous moments, the South Americans proved too strong in the end, confirming their spot in the quarter-finals, where Mexico will provide the opposition.
Panama did defeat Bolivia in their Copa America opener but went down 5-0 to Argentina in their next game, and Gomez believes it will not be long before the nation can become a force in world football.
"The differences between Central American and South American nations is very big," the Colombian said.
"But I believe in a few years' time we will reach a stage where we a considered a power."
He added: "We were not downtrodden. We were more or less worthy of being here. The best game we played [Argentina] scored five against us.
'We have to position ourselves and look at what we came to learn and be conscious of the differences."