South Africa's fate was virtually sealed after penalties by Dean Furman and May Mahlangu were saved by Mali goalkeeper Soumbeyla Diakite.
With South Africa trailing 3-1 in the shootout Lehlohonolo Majoro blasted wide from the spot giving Mali victory. Cheick Diabate, Adama Tamboura and Mahamane Traore all scored for Mali after Siphiwe Tshabalala netted South Africa's first penalty.
The hosts had taken a deserved lead after 31 minutes when the Mali defence failed to stop Mahlangu feeding Thuso Phala whose mis-hit shot landed at Tokelo Rantie's foot for him to fire in from close range.
Mali equalised after 58 minutes when Samba Sow surged forward and found Mahamadou Samassa wide on the left.
His perfect cross was met by the unmarked Seydou Keita whose header hit goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune but was powerful enough to carry over the line and into the back of the net.
- Sports & Recreation
- South Africa
- May Mahlangu