Thembi Kgatlana of South Africa Awarded the Woman of the Match during the African Womens Cup of Nations match between South Africa and Zambia. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Following their march into the semi-finals of the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (Awcon), Banyana Banyana are on the verge of making their first ever World Cup finals appearance. 

However, in order to achieve that feat they’ll have to beat Mali in the last four this evening (8:30pm) at Cape Coast Sports Stadium. 

Here we look at three players who will be key in helping them make the World Cup in France next year.

Thembi Kgatlana

After her impressive show in the last three matches of the group stage, Kgatlana has proved to many that she’s capable of leading coach Desiree Ellis’ troops into the last two of the competition. So far, she’s already scored four goals that were vital in ensuring that the South Africans topped their group. Against Nigeria in the opener, she scored Banyana’s goal that sealed their second-ever victory over the Super Falcons.

But to continue her dominance, she was the only player who scored a brace in their 7-1 win over Equatorial Guinea. In essence, that bagged her a second successive lady of the match award. However, she was not done, as that was followed by another strike against Zambia in the third and last match of the group stage.

Thembi Kgatlana of South Africa during the 2018 African Womens Cup of Nations match against Zambia. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix
Thembi Kgatlana of South Africa during the 2018 African Womens Cup of Nations match against Zambia. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Linda Motlhalo

The 20-year-old midfielder might be in her second Awcon tournament but she’s already proven that she can inspire the South Africans into their first ever World Cup. Furthermore, she’s one of the players who is trusted by Ellis, hence she opened the scoring spree in their 7-1 win over the Guineans with a calm penalty. She didn’t stop there as she, unselfishly, assisted Amanda Mthandi with the sixth goal in the latter stages of that encounter. 

However, her fine form in Awcon is a continuation of her dominance in the Cosafa Cup that was held in Port Elizabeth. In that tournament, she was crowned as the top goal scorer as she netted four strikes in just four matches - after missing the opener due to jet-lag. It’s really been a dream calendar year for Motlhalo especially following a move to National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) side Houston Dash in the USA.

Linda Motlhalo of South Africa in action against Nigeria. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix
Linda Motlhalo of South Africa in action against Nigeria. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Jermaine Seoposenwe

In the 2016 Olympics Games that were held in Brazil, Seoposenwe was, arguably, the lady that stood out for Banyana. Furthermore, her solitary strike in the last minutes of the game against Uganda in the semi-finals of the Cosafa, was enough to progress the South Africans into the final of the tournament - and, as a result that ensured that they achieved their title defence aspirations as they beat Cameroon by 2-1 in the final.

The Banyana striker took that momentum into the ongoing tournament in Ghana as she assisted Kgatlana with that goal in the opener against the Super Falcons. That well played move was capped-off by scoring Banyana’s last goal in their dominant win over the Guineans.

Jermaine Seoposenwe of South Africa during the 2018 African Womens Cup of Nations match against Nigeria. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix
Jermaine Seoposenwe of South Africa during the 2018 African Womens Cup of Nations match Nigeria. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix
@Mihalibaleka


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