Stuart Baxter lamented South Africa's inability to see out the final minutes of Wednesday’s defeat to Nigeria.
The Super Eagles romped to a 2-1 triumph over Bafana Bafana thanks to William Troost-Ekong’s 89th-minute strike.
Samuel Chukwueze handed Gernot Rohr’s men a first-half lead before Bongani Zungu levelled matters, however, Troost-Ekong had the final say with his late effort.
Despite enjoying strong spells of possession, the 1996 champions failed to translate that into goals – a result which left Baxter disenchanted.
However, he admitted South Africa tried their best but could not silence the 'dangerous' three-time African champions.
“It’s difficult when you lose a game in the dying minutes and it’s difficult to find positives,” Baxter told media during post-match conference.
“I thought in the first half we were brave enough to get on the ball and press higher. In the second half, we tried to do that better.
“Also, we tried to get more mobile and more possession which gave Nigeria more problems but we could still not find that last strike on goal to get there.
“Nigeria were always dangerous, they were really well organised with good players and because we didn’t defend as well as we could.
“We tried to win the game but we lost it in the dying minute which is tough to take. Congratulations to Rohr and his team, I’m sure they would be one of the teams to compete to lift the trophy at the end of the tournament.”
With this defeat, it means South Africa have been eliminated in their last three appearances in the championship’s last eight.