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Portia Modise: Banyana Banyana must keep their feet on the ground after stunning Nigeria

10:58 PM SGT 19/11/18
Portia Modise - Banyana Banyana
The retired striker has called for a professional women's football league to ensure women's football continues to grow in the country

Former Banyana Banyana striker Portia Modise has congratulated coach Desire Ellis and her troops following their 1-0 win over Nigeria on Sunday afternoon in their 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations opener.

The legendary striker says Banyana's win over the Super Falcons has lifted the morale in the team, but has called for calm heads as they continue their quest to qualify for the Fifa Women's World Cup next year.

“Yeah I think it is a great win over Nigeria and we needed that one. We need to congratulate the girls, the coaching staff for their efforts to put this one in the bag,” Modise told Goal.

“It was very important to win the first match and of course the morale will be high going forward because we have been struggling for a long time to beat them,” she noted.

“For us it's a massive boost and we must just focus on winning the following matches and maintain focus, remain disciplined to go into the next two games with focus after winning the first game,” she urged.

Speaking about the difference between the Ellis and former coach Vera Pauw, the former Jomo Cosmos striker revealed their a vast difference in how both coaches set out their team.

“I think there is a difference because there are many young players now and there is that balance in the team,” she continued.

“Many of the players are there because they deserve it and some are based in overseas which is very beneficial for the team,” reflected the legend.

“We all know the contribution of the players from overseas. We talk of players such as the skipper, Janine (Van Wyk), she is a leader and brings a different dimension and we are becoming a better side because there are many countries who have players coming from overseas,” added the former striker.

“Even the young ones will benefit and there will be continuity in the team because it is what makes the other countries become successful,” said Modise.

After Banyana defeated the defending champions, many are now tempted to believe that meeting Equatorial Guinea and Zambia should be a walk in the park, but Modise begs to differ.

For the South Africans to qualify for the global showpiece event, they must finish as one of the top three sides in the continental tournament, but Mosimane has faith that Banyana will achieve their target.

“I am confident the girls can qualify for the World Cup, that is the big one, but the job has started especially after beating Nigeria,” she backed.

“The target is to reach the semi-final and the final. For now, the girls must remain focused and push for another win because it will not be an easy road going forward,” added the former international.

“Qualifying for the World Cup will definitely open doors for many players, for the professional league to launched and there won't be any reason to postpone the launch,” reacted Modise.

“I have always said we need to have a professional league like all the other countries, I mean the benefits are countless – our game will definitely grow, but let's first make it to the World Cup,” she concluded.