South Africa has been among the pioneers of women's football in Africa, but successive teams have continually missed out on continental success at various championships over the past 15 years.
Women's football in South Africa had been played for more than two decades before the country's return to the FIFA fold in 1991, but it was only after the doors of international competition had been opened again that a formal structure for the women's game was established.
For many years, the women's game struggled to raise its profile in a country which is so passionate about its men's national and club teams, yet there are signs that it is becoming more and more popular with each passing year.
South Africa have always come close to qualifying for the FIFA Women's World Cup and other FIFA youth competitions, but despite taking part at the last five CAF Africa Women's Championships, they have been continually frustrated in achieving their ambitions.
In 2001, South Africa established its first women's junior team, at U-19 level and were among a handful of nations to participate in the inaugural CAF Africa Women's U-19 Championship.
However, they lost 9-3 on aggregate to Nigeria in the final of the competition in April 2002 and missed out on a place at the FIFA U-20 Women's World Championship in Canada that same year.
Past and present
Banyana Banyana, as the South Africa women's side are known, played their first international in May 1993 when the entertained Swaziland at the Milpark stadium in Johannesburg. It took just three minutes for them to register their first goal and by the end of the game they had scored a further 13. Their 14-0 victory remains a record for any South African side.
Terry Paine, a member of the England squad that won the FIFA World Cup™ in 1966 was the first coach of the women's team and has since been followed by Sandile Bali, Ephraim Mashaba and the Peruvian Augusto Palacios.
The current coach of is August Makalakalane, who was a member of the men's team that won the CAF Africa Cup of Nations in 1996.
Makalakalane also played at FC Zurich and FC Baden in Switzerland and is product of a new generation of foreign-trained coaches who have returned home to South Africa to impart their knowledge to a new generation.
The influence of Fran Hilton-Smith in establishing equality for the women's game in South Africa, cannot not be underestimated. Hilton-Smith, a FIFA instructor and former Banyana Banyana player, has served as a coach and team manager for over a decade and has been an extremely influential individual for hundreds of players, including one Portia Modise.
Modise finished in the top three in the voting for the 2006 CAF Women's Footballer of the Year award and was selected to play in the All-Stars squad in the match which preceded the Official Draw for the FIFA Women's World Cup China 2007.
She is the latest footballer to enjoy a high profile in South Africa, preceded by former captain Desiree Ellis, who went on to become a successful television pundit and Gloria Hlalele, who was famous for playing in a men's team and then later owned and managed her own side in the top amateur divisions.