When Portia Modise announced her retirement in 2015 Safa promised her the world, yet to this day, the only South Africa to score 100 international goals is still not celebrated. But Modise is just one of many who contributed to the growth of women’s football that have been forgotten by South Africa. Veronica Phewa, Toni Carelse, Sibongile Khumalo and the late Eudy Simelane are just some of the Banyana players whose contributions to the game remain largely ignored.
But a group of concerned football lovers are changing that. Last weekend a group calling themselves The Friends of Sello Mokoena hosted the inaugural Sello Mokoena Memorial Tournament in honour of Mokoena. Bosscry’s, as he was affectionately known, passed away in 2016 after a short illness. He founded the then Pretoria Technikon, currently the Tshwane University women’s football team in 1998 before moving to the University of Pretoria where he spent 13 years coaching the women’s team before ending his career at the North West University Vaal campus.
Mokoena also coached the University Sport South Africa women’s football team from 2006 to 2015. He was in charge when the USSA team finished fourth at the 2013 World Student Games (Summer Universiade) held in Russia. The Sello Mokoena Memorial Tournament attracted the who’s who of the women’s football world, including Banyana Banyana head coach Desiree Ellis.
Ellis says the different LFAs in the regions must also do something to celebrate all those that contributed to the growth of the women’s game. Ellis says that they shouldn’t only be celebrated once they are dead.
“We like to do it when people have passed on. It’s important for everyone to see their value while they are still alive. I take my hat off to the organisers, his family was overwhelmed. He didn’t just play a part with teams in Gauteng. He played a part All over. He was a national coach,” she says.
Last week the recently appointed minister of Sport and Recreation Tokozile Xasa launched an exhibition at the Freedom Park Museum to celebrate athletes who influenced society through sport during the dark days of Apartheid. Rosina Sedibane- Madiba is one of such athlete. Sedibane now has a school in Laudium, Pretoria named after her. She was humbled by the honour saying it feels special to remembered while she is still alive.