South Africa will begin their FIFA Women‘s World Cup campaign against Spain on Saturday 8 June, a team that is ranked 36 places above Banyana Banyana on the FIFA Women’s World rankings.
Banyanas’ final warm up match against Norway didn’t go as planned. The team trailed 5-0 at half time and succumbed to a 7-2 defeat on Sunday 2 June in Amiens.
Coach, Desiree Ellis said that there were some factors which affected her team before kick-off including a bus trip which should have been an hour and a half but ended up taking over three and a half hours. Ellis said, “Everything was rushed but we could have done better.”
Although the result was not what the team wanted, Ellis commended the way her side came back in the second half and said that Banyana need to maintain such a spirited performance for a full ninety minutes.
For Banyana legend, Portia Modise, a spirited performance is the best we can demand from the side.
Modise, as one of the FIFA selected legends, will lead the country at the opening ceremony in Paris on Friday when the tournament gets underway in the French capital.
On the eve of South Africa’s departure to the tournament, SAFA president Danny Jordaan announced that 30 million rand will be used from the World Cup Legacy Trust to launch a women’s professional league in the country.
Banyana’s most recent opponents, Norway have had a top division for the women’s game since 1984. For Modise, this is the real opportunity of Banyana’s first appearance at a Women’s World cup, “For the fact that we don’t have a league, and the team qualified is good. If we create more chances through the league they promised, then we can compete next time.”
Known as “Bashin” from her playing days, Modise is the most prolific goal scorer, male or female, for the country having scored over 100 goals in national kit. She hopes to motivate Banyana when she arrives in France. She said, “you being impossible to ask the team to win the World Cup. They must do their best.”
The FIFA Women’s World Cup starts on Friday 7 June with hosts France and South Korea in a Group A encounter.