An hour into Wednesday evening’s match in Coventry, a moment arrived which will live long in the memory for South Africa's women. Banyana Banyana were 3-0 down to a clearly superior Sweden side, but Portia Modise suddenly had the crowd on its feet in amazement with a stunning goal from fully 45 yards. The spectators raucously cheered the lively attacker, even the Scandinavian fans voicing their approval.
At the end of the day, the Olympic newcomers lost the match 4-1, but what really mattered to the South Africans was their passionate display and the recognition it prompted. “I'll never forget this goal. During the match, I noticed Hedvig Lindahl often straying a long way from her goal, so I just thought I'd give it a go. It worked out, and I'm really proud," Modise exclusively told FIFA.com afterwards.
The 29-year-old was clearly aware that her moment of magic represented a historic development in South African women's football. “We'll remember this goal for a very long time, and it'll always be linked to Banyana Banyana. And that's exactly what we wanted to achieve here. Our goal is to give a good account of ourselves and win admirers," said Modise, who now has an impressive 72 goals in 93 international appearances, and currently plies her trade at home for Palace Super Falcons.
“Obviously, we know we can't expect to win the tournament. But against Sweden, we showed we're capable of good football at times. And while we're here at the Olympic Games, we want to keep demonstrating that South African women's football is on the move," continued Modise, a satisfied smile playing across her face. To FIFA.com it seemed she understood the significance of her dream goal as a first heart-warming success story for the host of underdogs at the London Games. She certainly won over the fans’ hearts in Coventry .
In a tough Group F, the South Africans now face Canada on Saturday, before rounding off their programme against FIFA Women's World Cup™ holders Japan on Tuesday. “We'll keep taking each game as it comes and see if we can enjoy a few more special moments. At the end of the day, just being here is a fantastic success for us," said Modise, before taking her seat on the team bus.
And she'll surely need a little time to get over her very special day, when she basked in the limelight for a precious and memorable moment.