Former Banyana Banyana midfielder, Portia Modise has made a shock claim that the South African Women National Team will come home early from the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
African champions Banyana have been drawn in Group G with Italy, Argentina, and Sweden in a tournament that will be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand from 20 July to 20 August 2023.
Banyana bowed out early in the 2019 World Cup in France, where they finished bottom of Group B with zero points and a single goal in a group comprising of Germany, Spain and China. They also suffered a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Germany in their last match.
Desiree Ellis’ troops have won several COSAFA Cup tournaments, participated in almost every Women’s AFCON exhibit, and been to Olympic Games, and Rio 2016 – as well as the 2019 World Cup. However, Modise, the Banyana all-time top goal scorer has insisted, in what she claims is “reality”, that being African champions does not give Banyana the right to survive in the World Cup.
“Remind me of our group in the World Cup, let’s face reality here, we are going to come home very early, our group is tough,” Modise told ThisIsFootball.Africa.
“Yes, we won the African Cup of Nations, we prayed for it, no one believed that the girls would bring home the trophy, they came with it even no one believed in them, but God said I will show them.
“But that, does it say we are ready for the World Cup? Does it say we are ready to play Brazil? Does it say we are ready to play Australia? Let’s be realistic, let’s not fool ourselves. Yes we won the WAFCON but if you go back to watch that game properly, you will know that we have a long way to go.”
The 39-year-old retired footballer has accentuated that Ellis’ players must just go to showcase their capabilities to impress and to catch the attention of international scouts, instead of thinking of winning the biggest tournament in woman’s football.
“We are still far behind to compete with those teams, we are still far away. That’s why we are failing, we want to avoid facing the reality, we just want to kick the ball,” Modise said.
“That is why I will always emphasize that the girls should go there without stressing. They just must go there and do their best to represent the country and that will open up opportunities for them to receive offers from abroad.
“They must not go there and feel that they will win the World Cup, no, no never. That will never happen, I can bet on that with all my money. I’m not concerned about what people will say about me. They will say I’m negative. I’m not negative, I’m so positive, but it’s reality and I would rather not put pressure on my fellow teammates.”
South Africa begin their World Cup Group G campaign against Sweden on 23 July before playing Argentina and Italy.