SETTLING back into quiet village life has been challenging for Banyana Banyana star, Amanda Sister, who recently returned home from the hustle and bustle of the world’s biggest sporting event.
While she is happy to be back in Port Elizabeth, Sister is still coming off the extreme high that was the 2012 London Olympic Games.
The petite 22-year-old chatted to The Herald on Wednesday while she kicked a soccer ball around the Victoria Park High School sports field.
She said it was so cold on her first day back in the city, she was tempted to jump on a plane straight back to the UK.
However, she was humbled by the welcome she had received from the small Veeplaas community where she grew up.
"People followed my car all the way to my house. I told them that I was tired and just wanted to sleep, but they all insisted on speaking to me. They wanted to hear all about the Olympics,” she said.
And while the barefooted kids were all too eager to see what their "hero” had brought them from London, the adults in the group begged her for the shirts, shorts or even the socks she wore during her games.
"I’ll be lucky if I have anything to wear after all this,” she quipped.
The South African women’s soccer team arrived in London on July 23, two days before their first game against Sweden.
And although they stayed in a hotel near their playing field and not in the Olympic village with the other athletes, Sister said they were still very much a part of the "Olympic vibe”.
Banyana got off to a bad start with a 4-1 loss to Sweden.
Then, on July 30, they lost 3-0 to Canada.
But the women’s team saved the best for last.
On July 31, they drew 0-0 with Japan, a team which is now vying for the gold.
She said it was her favourite match and that her team had played particularly well.
"We fell out of the tournament with our heads held high.
"The problem is that although we created the opportunity to score, we battled to get the ball in the net.
"The other girls were also physically bigger than us so it was difficult to get the ball over their heads.”
Her money is now on Japan to take the gold against the USA by three goals to one.
She said the support her team received from the sidelines was overwhelming.
"At every game there were just more and more supporters. I was nervous, I am not used to playing under such pressure.”
To wind down, the Banyana team enjoyed trips to Birmingham, where Sister said they spent hours in the large shopping malls.
"To sum it up, the whole experience was amazing. I had to pinch myself to make sure it was real.”