In South Africa's squad for the Aisha Buhari tournament held between September 15-21 in Lagos, Nigeria, Thembi Kgatlana delivered a stunning performance on Friday in Banyana Banyana's 3-0 win over Black Queens of Ghana.
Kgatlana was behind most of the South African chances, even scoring a lavish goal in individual action.
The striker recalled why she received in 2018 the award for best African player of the year at the CAF Awards.
“It's always good to play top teams,” she said after the match against Ghana. “We hadn't played in a very long time and we had a couple of overseas based players who had to join the team. "
Indeed, coach Desiree Ellis had to summon all her nuggets to be sure of the result. South Africa’s victory being the first against Ghana since the 2018 TotalEnergies Women’s Africa Cup of Nations.
“Getting a first match like Ghana, we had to prepare and also make sure that we scored,” continued Kgatlana. And that's what the ladies of Desiree Ellis did.
The first goal came in the 17th minute when Kgatlana's brilliant attempt after a superb run from the left ricocheted off the crossbar. Taking advantage of the rebound, Hildah Magaia was not mistaken to open the scoring. Kgatlana then scored seven minutes after the return from the locker room before Sibulele Holweni sealed the victory six minutes from time.
The player of Atletico de Madrid Femenino in Spain is delighted to bring her professional experience to the service of the motherland. “Playing in Europe makes me a better player and if I get a call up to play for the national team. I have to use my experience to help the team and score to influence the win which I did", concluded Kgatlana, who has also visited clubs Houston Dash, Beijing BG Phoenix and Benfica Lisbon.
For their next ABC tournament match, South Africa will face the Nigeria Super Falcons in a remake of the 2018 TotalEnergies Women’s Africa Cup of Nations final.
Will Banyana Banyana succeed in overthrowing the reigning African champions? Answer this Tuesday, September 21 with a top level duel carried by Kgatlana and the Nigerian Asisat Oshoala.