Things are starting to change, African football is increasingly competitive - says Banyana star Thembi Kgatlana
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JOHANNESBURG - South Africa women’s footballer Thembi Kgatlana over the weekend said she believes her side’s ascension to the top of African football is imminent.
In the 2018 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations, Banyana Banyana - as the SA women’s football team are known - lost in the final to Nigeria on penalties, after the teams were locked 0-0 after regulation time.
“We’ll get the rub of the green eventually,” Thembi Kgatlana, top scorer and recipient of the Player of the Tournament award in 2018, told FIFA.com. “Nigeria have been the dominant force for a long time now, but I feel like things are starting to change.
"The Nigerians might have beaten us on penalties in the final, but we’d already got a 1-0 win against them in our opening group match. And we’re not the only ones. African football is increasingly competitive.”
Fans and pundits have often drawn comparisons between Kgatlana and Nigeria’s Asisat Oshoala, as both Africans play women’s club football in Spain.
“She’s a good player, with bags of experience, but I don’t regard her as a rival,” explained Kgatlana. “We’re different players. It’s like comparing Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. They’re fantastic footballers with their own special attributes. Why should we have to choose one over the other?”
The 25-year-old Kgatlana has already scored 19 goals in 59 appearances for Banyana, and has already represented a number of international football clubs like Houston Dash (USA), Beijing BG Phoenix (China), Benfica (Portugal) and currently Spanish outfit Eibar.
“I really enjoy performing in Spain, but I must say that I get pleasure no matter where I go, as long as I’m playing football,” said Kgatlana, who has scored 10 goals in 21 matches for Eibar.
“Everywhere I go, I aim to be the best – at training and during matches. It’s always easier to succeed when you play in a team that understands your style, which is the case with where I am at the moment. After last season – at Benfica – was cut short by the Covid-19 pandemic, I’m delighted to be able to express myself on the pitch again.”
African News Agency