THEMBI Kgatlana is a star in the making!
The African Women’s Player of the Year has again proved her worth in her first Fifa Women’s World Cup appearance in France at the weekend.
Despite not getting the desired result, Kgatlana won the hearts of many who were at the Stade Oceane, Le Havre to watch her play for the first time in France against Spain.
She scored a cracker, the first goal from an African player against a European team in the World Cup, which was ironically South Africa’s first Women’s World Cup goal.
She pounced on the Spaniards when they least expected and picked a far corner beyond Sandra Panos’ reach.
But her beautiful effort was diluted by the three that came from Spain when they beat Desiree Ellis’ charges 3-1.
The 23-year-old did not hide her disappointment with the result, but more on the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system that saw them concede two penalties and a red card to Nothando Vilakazi.
There has been a huge outcry over the VAR which did not do them any favours with question marks, over debatable penalies
“I am disappointed that we did not win the match based on decisions from the VAR and there’s nothing we can do about it. It is part of football, we have to adapt to it,” Kgatlana said.
“It’s an amazing feeling for me to have scored my first goal in the World Cup and for the country.”
Kgatlana, who plays for China’s Beijing Phoenix, said this tournament will not only be about representing the country, but serves as an opportunity for Mzansi players to showcase themselves and earn lucrative deals from overseas.
She added: “The World Cup is the right platform to put Banyana on the map.”
Banyana will now turn their focus on China to continue with their impressive display on Thursday night at the Parc des Princes in Paris (9pm).
Banyana will need to improve in front of goal, they create a lot of chances but their conversion rate was a bit of a struggle.
Kgatlana added: “The coach told us to take our chances at the break, and warned that we were not too sharp. Spain got those chances and they punished us. We still need to put in more hard-work to improve upfront.”
She added that they will need to stay focused: “It was amazing to hear the fans cheering me up, but I’m here to represent the country and play for the team. ”
- Mthokozisi Mkhonza is in France as a guest of Sasol