4 November 2012

South Africa/Equatorial Guinea: 100th Cap Is Best Ever for Me - Portia Modise

Portia Modise is a household name when you talk about women's football not only in South Africa but Africa in general. Attaining 100 caps in women's football in Africa is quite an achievement and mile stone.

In South Africa national women's team (Banyana Banyana)'s played their second group match of the 8th Africa Women Championship (AWC) 2012 finals currently underway in Equatorial Guinea, Modise made her 100th appearance and the best moment of her national team career. The match was against Senegal in Group A at Malabo Stadium

"Having scored 73 goals for my national team as well as earning my 100th cap, that is the best achievement for me in football," said Modise when she talked to Cafonline.com after helping her side beat Senegal 1-0 through the goal scored by central striker Andisiwe Mgcoyi in the 70th minute.

Turning to women's football in Africa, Modise admitted that there has been good progress in general but much still needs to be done especially in the local leagues where the players are natured for their national teams. They are no strong women football leagues in Africa although the talent is in abundance. In this year finals, Modise predicts one of the three teams namely Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria and South Africa will lift the trophy. On their side they have prepared well and playing in the London 2012 Olympics was good experience which they hope to use to their advantage.

On Nigeria, she said: "Nigeria always have good team, they have professionals playing outside Nigeria. So, they have experience that helps the team compared to other competing teams. Most of them (Nigerians) are playing oversees. But in football anything can happen."

Modise praised the way the locals have embraced the 8th AWC Finals in Equatorial Guinea. The local fans, especially women rally behind their team wholeheartedly. They turn up in good numbers when their team is playing, and in football that is the big motivation to players. The 2007 nominee for African player of the year award is plans to hang her boots in three years' time but she still wants to play abroad. In 2003 she was invited by Arsenal Ladies in England before joining Denmark based Fortuna club and when her contract expired she decided to go back home.

"After retirement from active playing I want to run my own academy so that l can inspire more girls to play football. I will also love one day to be coach of my national team," she said adding that women football needs more attention like men football.

On African Women Championship, Modise said from where she started playing, there is a huge improvement in the tournaments. However, there is still more than can be done to make it even better. Born in Soweto in the Republic of South Africa on June 20th 1983, Modise started playing football with boys at the age of six. She got her first call for Banyana Banyana in 1998 when she was 14 years old and started playing for the team during 2000 AWC finals which were held in South Africa.

Her first match was against Reunion in which Banyana Banyana won 3-0. She featured in all five matches for the team during the tournament in which South Africa went all the way to the final that was abandoned in the 73rd minute while Nigeria (Super Falcon) were leading 2-0.

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