Thembi Kgatlana in full flight for Banyana Banyana against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo 
on Sunday. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Banyana Banyana could have won their Cosafa Women’s Championship final by 2-0 against Zimbabwe had it not been for lapses of concentration which got to them in the last 18 minutes.

This is the view of Banyana star attacking midfielder Thembi Kgatlana, who was pleased with her individual and Banyana’s performances after she won both the Cosafa championship title and the Player of the Tournament accolade in her first participation in this southern regional event.

Kgatlana was elated to have won something she had set out to achieve, also adding that Banyana really worked their socks off to beat hosts Zimbabwe in front of their passionate crowd at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo on Sunday.

“This is something that I aimed for, and I’m just pleased that I was able to get what I had targeted from the beginning of this championship,” Kgatlana said.

“This goes to show that nothing beats hard work, and to win it (the Player of the Tournament accolade) after having helped the national side to win this year’s Cosafa Women’s Championship final makes it all the more sweeter.

“Looking at our final game against Zimbabwe, we dominated them for the best part of that match. It is only lapses of concentration at the back which got to us, and they were able to secure a goal to make it 1-1.

“But other than that, we were just superb on the day. We are this year’s Cosafa champions, and that’s what makes me really happy. We achieved the goal we had set for ourselves.”

Kgatlana continued: “This achievement also adds a bit of weight to my profile as a player.

“That’s massive in my eyes. My focus will now have to shift towards finishing my BA in Tourism (with the University of the Western Cape). Next year counts as my final.”

Meanwhile, Banyana’s central midfielder Refiloe Jane, who was given the captain’s armband for the duration if the tournament following the unavailability of Banyana skipper Janine van Wyk, said that it felt good being the first to lift the trophy at fulltime.

However, she stressed that none of this would have been possible if she and her teammates didn’t pull together as a unit right up until the final day of this year’s championship.

“It’s a great feeling to have won this championship in my first participation in this tournament as captain,” Jane said.

“However, all credit must go to my teammates and the technical staff as well because everybody just worked really hard to achieve this goal. I can’t take all the credit, really. We pulled together as a unit.

“The new players also raised their hands and rose up to the occasion when it was expected of them, and that makes me really happy. We truly earned it.”


The Star