Women's Football

Portia Modise: South Africa's centurion in numbers

© AFP

Portia Modise became the first African player to reach the elusive 100-goal barrier in international football on Saturday, when she scored her 99th and 100th goal in South Africa's important 5-1 victory against Algeria at the CAF African Women's Championship. The win in their final group game enabled *Banyana Banyana *to qualify for the semi-finals of the event, which is being held in Namibia. With the top three qualifying for the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015™, Modise could hardly have chosen a more important game in which to reach her milestone.

The South African joins an illustrious group of players including USA's Abby Wambach and Mia Hamm, Canada's Christine Sinclair, Germany's Birgit Prinz and Sun Wen from China PR, all of whom have scored 100 goals or more. Modise looks back with FIFA.com at some important numbers from her distinguished career.

0 The top three teams from the African Women's Championship in Namibia will qualify for the Canada 2015 and Modise is hoping that *Banyana *can break their duck in qualifying for the finals. “Our preparations were really good, and we need to show that they were good by qualifying for the World Cup. Another important reason why we need to be in Canada is that there are many young players in South Africa who are so good. It will be nice if we can start qualifying and they can get the opportunity to be seen and get the chances to play overseas.”

1 Modise scored her first goal for South Africa in the 2000 African Women's Championships against Zimbabwe.

2 South Africa has a long-standing rivalry with Nigeria's Super Falcons, with the west Africans generally getting the better of their rivals. The first time *Banyana *avoided defeat was in a 2-2 draw in a qualifier for the 2004 Olympics and Modise scored both goals for her country. “They were really important goals because we managed to draw the game and from then on we knew that we did not have to lose against the Nigerians.” South Africa will be facing their nemesis in the semi-finals in Namibia on Wednesday.

3 Modise spent three seasons playing in Denmark with Fortuna Hjorring. “It was terrific playing in Europe, and I was top scorer for my club in one season. I think I scored something like 15 or 16 goals.”

4 The 31-year-old says: “I believe that I still have four, maybe five years left playing at the highest level. I am still hoping for other opportunities, like being signed by a club overseas and playing abroad for one or two years."

6 Modise started playing football on the streets when she was six. Not many years later she started playing senior football. “I played my first official game when I was 12 years old and my first game for the South African under-19 side when I was just 14 years old.”

25 The striker scored for her country at the 2012 Olympics against Sweden on 25 July, beating the opposing goalkeeper with an effort from the centre circle. “I intercepted a Swedish pass in our half and then started running towards their goal. At the edge of the circle I saw that the goalkeeper was off her line, so I just let it fly. It was a beautiful goal.”

100 Modise scored her 100th goal with three minutes remaining on the clock in South Africa's 5-1 victory against Algeria. Modise was modest after her achievement. “I am really just doing my job by scoring goals. But it is still great to have achieved 100 and it is an honour to be the first African. I think it also shows that nothing is impossible in football. I think showing that is a great achievement.” Modise was praised for her performance by the technical director of the South African Football Association, Fran Hilton-Smith. “Portia, now a member of the 100 cap and goal club, has also made history as a woman footballer by being nominated as a member of the top 100 women in South Africa list a few years back. She is a role model for all women footballers in the country and has a huge fan club in South Africa. She is a very determined lady and is not easily swayed from her goals. Her commitment has always shone through and she is committed to the success of the team. Her stint overseas gave her a better vision into the game and she brought this back to South Africa.”

117 Modise scored her 100th goal in her 117th match for Banyana Banyana.

2006 Modise won the gold ball for the best player at the fifth continental championship in 2006. “We finished third and it was an honour to be elected as the most valuable player of the tournament.”

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