South Africa’s Modise hailed for top career

21 May 2015

Portia Modise deserves to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, according to Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula, who saluted the decorated Banyana Banyana forward following her retirement from football.

Modise’s contribution to women’s football was valuable, he said yesterday, and while she was hanging up her boots as a player, it was not goodbye as she would continue to be part of sport as an ambassador and mentor.

Modise was the first South African soccer player in both the men’s and women’s sports to have scored more than 100 goals for the national team. After a triumphant career as a player, she announced on 19 May that she would retire from Banyana Banyana with immediate effect to pursue a career in coaching.

“I’m not saying goodbye to the football association, I’m saying see you later. I would really like to contribute to building football in this country,” she said.

“The question of honouring people who have made a contribution in sport is a matter that we are attending to, through the Hall of Fame. People like Portia, I think in even in women’s sports, those that came before her have not achieved what she has achieved in the field of play,” said Mbalula.

“She definitely belongs in that Hall of Fame in terms of honour and respect. She needs to be inducted into that Hall of Fame for all her achievements. She is one of the brightest stars of women’s sport.”

She was retiring at a time when there were plans to make women’s league football a full-time sport in South Africa. The South African Football Association (Safa) had committed to making Modise an ambassador of women’s sport as she was a role model to young girls and an icon of women’s sport.

It was important that efforts be made to train her as a coach so she could pass on her talent through training others.

The Mail and Guardian newspaper stated that Modise “is South Africa’s most successful soccer player. She’s the most capped female player and the top goal scorer. Across the board.”

Modise, who was born in Soweto, Johannesburg, was the longest serving player in Banyana Banyana, with 124 caps. She scored 101 goals in national team colours, making her the first African footballer to ever score 100 international goals, according to Safa.

Nicknamed “Bashin” after the Orlando Pirates goal scoring legend Albert “Bashin” Mahlangu, Modise played a vital role in Banyana’s achievements. She started playing football aged 10, choosing the sport over netball in school. She played for Soweto Rangers at U/10 level and Jomo Cosmos Ladies before joining Soweto Ladies in 1996.

At 13 she captained Basetsana before being called-up to the senior side two years later. She made her debut in the senior national team in 2000. She also had a stint overseas playing for Danish side Fortuna Hjorring for two seasons.

Source: SAinfo reporter and SAnews.gov