Bafana Bafana's campaign in the 29th edition of the Orange Africa Cup of Nations South Africa 2013 came to an end when they lost 3-1 on penalties to Mali 3-1 after the two teams ended deadlocked 1-1 after extra time.
The quarterfinal clash took place at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday, 2 February.
Mali will now face the winner between Ivory Coast and Nigeria who will play in the third quarterfinal on Sunday, 3 February in Rustenburg.
South Africa was the first out of the blocks with a goal from striker Tokelo Rantie in the 32nd minute.
Rantie did not last the entire first half due to injury and was replaced by Lehlohonolo Majoro in the 41st minute, playing his first match since he was injured in the 2-0 victory over Angola.
South Africa continued to apply the pressure but could not add on to their lead.
After the break, it was Mali who levelled matters through their captain Seydou Keita who nodded a free header past goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune.
Both sides created good chances but could not find the deciding winning goal in regulation time.
Thirty minutes of extra time ended in a stalemate leading to a penalty shootout.
Second half substitute Siphiwe Tshabalala was the only South African to score from the spot kick, while Dean Furman, May Mahlangu and Majoro failed to convert.
Mali kept their nerve and saw Diabate, Tamboura and M. Traore score to give the West African side victory.
"Yes like everyone around the country, I am hugely disappointed that we did not proceed to the last four. But I can tell you now I am very proud of my team tonight. They came here and matched one of the best teams on the continent and even took them to penalties. Just a pity with penalties it's the luck of the draw, tonight luck was on Mali's side they took their penalty kicks well," said Bafana Bafana head coach Gordon Igesund.
"My players showed lot of guts, determination and most of all self-belief."
Bafana Bafana was again visited in their dressing room by the Minister of Sport and Recreation South Africa, the Honourable Fikile Mbalula, Premier of KwaZulu Natal Dr Zweli Mkhize, SAFA President Kirsten Nematandani, SAFA vice Presidents Dr Danny Jordaan and Mandla Mazibuko, as well as SAFA CEO Dennis Mumble.
"We are proud of you. You displayed great sportsmanship. With your excellent performance you have restored the dignity of Bafana Bafana and of the country. You did better than many countries that were in this tournament. Do not let this setback put you down, you went down fighting which is what the people wanted to see," said Dr Mkhize.
"You can build on this going forward; keep it up and well done."
This is how they lined up:
Itumeleng Khune, Siboniso Gaxa, Tsepo Masilela, Bongani Khumalo, Siyabonga Sangweni, Dean Furman, May Mahlangu, Thuso Phala (Thulani Serero 89'), Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Bernard Parker (Siphiwe Tshabalala 105'), Tokelo Rantie (Lehlohonolo Majoro 41')
So Diakite, Diawara, Tamboura, A.Coulibaly, Wague, Keita, Sissoko (M Traore 55'), Sow, Sa Diakite (Diarra 24'), Maiga, Samassa (Diabate 88')