Nigeria victory is a stepping stone to World Cup - Refiloe Jane

Refiloe Jane will be MIA for South Africa against Nigeria as she must return to Australia for club commitments. Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

South Africa's opening Africa Women Cup of Nations victory over Nigeria should set the tone for Banyana Banyana to qualify for the World Cup, according to Refiloe Jane.

The 2018 COSAFA champions defeated the Super Falcons for the first time at the Cape Coast Stadium on Sunday, courtesy of Chrestina Kgatlana's 84th-minute stunner.

Jane, who was instrumental in the build-up to the goal, believes that the opening victory should set Banyana on their way to a top-three finish.

"Beating Nigeria is not just a statement of intent," she told ESPN, "but it is a stepping stone to qualify for the World Cup.

"However, we know everyone here is aiming for that spot and it's not going to be easy for us.

"We just have to take it one game at a time, and hopefully we win our upcoming games and see ourselves in the semi-final," she added. "I hope we qualify."

South Africa's performance demonstrated that they could be the side to end the duopoly of Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea in the AWCON, despite Asisat Oshoala's recent claim that the Super Falcons faced no rivals in their hunt for a record-extending 11th title.

"The win today gives people an idea that we can play," Jane added. "We came here as a team to beat, we also came here to make sure that we win the AWCON, because we've never won it before."

Banyana skipper Janine van Wyk echoed her teammates' words.

"I'm satisfied we won because that's what we came here for," she told ESPN. "I am extremely happy with the teamwork the players showed today.

"We went out, we fought hard for each other.

"We knew that it was going to be a tough game against Nigeria and defending champions are always a tough opponent to play against, but I think we really stood our ground.

"In the first half we gave away a silly chance which they couldn't capitalize on, but we made sure that we kept it tight at the back and made the most of our chances."

After one match, Zambia sit atop Group B after thumping Equatorial Guinea 5-0 in their opener, and will face Nigeria in their second fixture on Wednesday.

Banyana meet Equatorial Guinea on the 21st at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium.

"I think Thembi [Kgatlana] coming on really surprised the Nigerian defence with her pace, and she scored a phenomenal top-class goal," van Wyk concluded.

"Credit goes to every single one that played their hearts out today."