Goal hero Kgatlana cautions Banyana to proceed with caution after beating Nigeria
Goal hero Thembi Kgatlana cautioned that Banyana Banyana are taking their 2018 African Women’s Championship campaign step-by-step after the historic 1-0 success over defending champions Nigeria in Cape Coast on Sunday.
Banyana took a major step towards the semifinals with the victory‚ which is just their second ever against the Super Falcons‚ a side that for more than two decades have proven their nemesis.
Kgatlana blasted home a volley on the run with five minutes remaining to secure the win‚ which was deserved for the South Africans‚ though they did ride their luck at times and profited from some wasteful Nigerian finishing.
Next up is a clash against Equatorial Guinea on Wednesday‚ who were thrashed in their opener against Zambia‚ before Banyana finish their Group B campaign against the latter on Saturday.
“Even though they had a lot of possession‚ they did not really threaten us‚” Kgatlana said of Nigeria.
“In the first half our passes were going astray and we spoke about that at the break.
"But we always knew we had it within us‚ it took a moment of brilliance to decide the match but we planned really well.
“This victory is also for the people back home and to the coaches that have sacrificed for the last year.”
Kgatlana is no stranger to crucial goals‚ she helped Banyana to the Cosafa Cup tournament in 2016 with some vital strikes and was also named Player of the Tournament.
The Houston Dash winger was less influential as the side retained the title in September‚ but remains a vital part of the side‚ even when used as an impact weapon off the bench‚ as she was against Nigeria.
Banyana coach Desiree Ellis said they needed to have a plan against Nigeria and they stuck to it.
“This means a lot to me‚ but more especially for the team because we know how important it is to have won this first game‚" she said.
“We look forward to working together as a team and we came here for one goal‚ which is to qualify for the World Cup.
“We are going to take every game step-by-step.”
Banyana need to finish in the top two in their pool to advance to the semifinals‚ and then must collect at least bronze to reach the Fifa Women’s World Cup in France next year.
South Africa‚ who have been to the last two Olympic Games‚ have never reached the World Cup before‚ falling agonizingly short on a number of occasions.