Fighting Banyana lose Olympic opener

26 July 2012

A second half wonder-goal from Portia Modise wasn’t enough to stop South Africa’s women’s football team, Banyana Banyana, going down 4-1 to fourth-ranked Sweden in their opening match of the 2012 Olympic Games on Wednesday.

After going into halftime 3-0 down at the City of Coventry Stadium, many thought it was all over bar the shouting for Banyana’s opening Group F game.

But Modise, not nicknamed “Bashin” for nothing, clearly had second thoughts as she latched onto a ball just inside the Swedish half in the 60th minute and bashed a blaster past a stunned goalkeeper.

It was from 45 metres out, and the Swedes stood nonplussed as the ball scorched home.

Banyana will now be down but not out after a plucky performance against the world’s fourth ranked side.

They’re only ranked 61st and could have gone down by a lot more, but credit to coach Joseph Mkhonza and captain Amanda Dlamini they refused to lie down.

The first goal came in the seventh minute after a wicked deflection. Then two goals in the space of two minutes underlined the Swedish domination.

South Africa weren’t without fight though, and Modise and Janine van Wyk both went close.

After Modise’s super-strike, it wasn’t long however before Lotta Schelin scored her second goal to take the margin back to three goals.

Some had predicted a thrashing for Banyana, but this result will give them some hope, especially after a second half in which they shared the spoils when it came to goals.

Match statistics said that Banyana had 43% of possession compared to 57% of the Swedes, but when it came to heart they gave their all.

And that will be key to Team South Africa’s hopes as the Games get going on Friday.

Next up for Banyana are seventh-ranked Canada in Coventry on Saturday, and then their biggest test of all, against world champions Japan in Cardiff on Monday.

Source: South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee