Itumeleng Khune (Gallo Images)
Rio de Janeiro - Itumeleng Khune silenced his critics on Thursday night as his heroics helped South Africa to a potentially vital 0-0 draw against Brazil at the Olympic Games.
The result leaves South Africa with every chance of going through to the tournament quarter-finals should results against Denmark and Iraq go their way.
The defensive effort of Owen Da Gama's men was exceptional, especially considering they had lost central midfielder Mothobi Mvala to a second yellow card with half an hour to play.
Khune's inclusion in the Olympic squad had been met with skepticism from large sections of the South African football public after the performance of Jody February against Senegal in a penalty shootout in December last year booked South Africa their spot in Rio.
But Khune proved his class and justified his selection in a big way against Brazil, and the way he spoke about the match afterwards made it clear that he thought it was something special.
"It was a great team effort. Credit must go to all the players and the supporting staff. We did it for our country," said Khune.
"No one gave us a chance, we came here as an underdog to play against the host team but we managed to play as a team. So now we have our point.
"I am so happy to make my appearance, make my mark. Definitely my grandchildren will watch the DVD of this match.
"I never rest. I enjoy working. I enjoy playing football. It is in my blood. If I have the chance to keep on playing football, for sure I will do always."
South Africa are next in action when they take on Denmark on Sunday.
Lloyd Burnard is Sport24's correspondent in Rio de Janeiro for the duration of the 2016 Olympics ...