Cape Town - Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund says they were outplayed by a Nigerian side who were physically much stronger.
The Super Eagles beat South Africa 3-1 at Cape Town Stadium on Sunday night to send the hosts crashing out of the African Nations Championship (CHAN).
In the day's other game, Mali beat Mozambique 2-1 at Athlone Stadium to win Group A while the Nigerians finished ahead of Bafana.
Igesund told the Soccer-Laduma website that Nigeria deserved to win.
“They out-muscled us, they were physically much much stronger than us in areas, and that’s not an excuse, that’s just how it is, they were stronger than us."
Igesund said Bafana tried to take the game to Nigeria, but were undone by some silly errors to concede goals.
Nigeria opened the scoring in the 21st minute when Christantus Ejike Uzoenyi blasted a left-footed shot from the edge of the six-yard-box past goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs.
Nine minutes later Josephs spilled a routine free-kick, and in trying to regain the ball managed to rugby tackle a prowling Nigeria attacker.
Josephs conceded the penalty and received a yellow card for his efforts. He got a hand to Ifeanyi Ede's penalty, but was unable to stop Nigeria from pulling 2-0 ahead.
South Africa then brought on more attacking firepower in the form of Katlego Mashego, but when Uzoenyi made it 3-0 in the second half the game was over as a contest.
A late penalty by Bernard Parker was only a consolation prize for Bafana.
Igesund said he had to take off a defender for more attack up front in order to try and get something out of the game.