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Thembi Kgatlana - What makes her a quality football player

Tembi Kgatlana - What makes her a quality player

Thembi Kgatlana is one of the greatest woman football players in South Africa (SA). At the Africa Women Cup of nations awards, the star player won the mammoth award of woman player of the year and goal of the year. The only other South African player whos won this award is Noko Matlou. However, no South Africa mens football player has won the award. Many South African fans would feel Benni McCathy was unlucky to not win the award, when his site Porto lifted the UEFA Championship trophy in the 2003/04 season. Additionally, Thembi scored the goal that secured a place for Banyana Banyana in the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019. The FIFA world cup 2019 will be the first time in Bayana Banyana's history their have qualified for this tournament.


This article unpacks what make Thembi Kgatlana one of the best woman football players in the world.

Thembi is that good, that Kaizer Chiefs fans were asking Kaizer Chiefs to sign her, for their men's team to solve the goal drought (tweet).

Football Development

"The Banyana Banyana star started playing football at the age of eight" said her mother. At the age of 13 she was scouted by TUKS High Performance Centre. The elite High Performance Centre which is responsible for developing many talented athletes. The High Performance Centre, has one of the best woman football development structures in South Africa.

Exposure to International Football at an early age

In 2018, Thembi Kgatlana was signed by the Houston Dash womens football club which plays in National Womens Soccer League(NSWL) in United States of America (USA). 

The Banyana Banyana superstar has played 16 matches for Houston Dash. The star has scored three goals and assisted in 3 goals. Playing in the USA has benefited her immensely, by competing and playing with world class players like herself.

Playing abroad has been earmarked as one of the achilles hill of "Bafana Bafana". When the likes of Lucas Radabe, the late Phil Masinga, Shaun Bartlett, Maimane Phiri and Benni McCathy, to name a few. Bafana bafana were definetly a competitive team. Banyana Banyana have definitely taken a leaf out of bafana's book and have performed way better. With a number of players in the Banyana Bayana national team player in the highest women football leagues in the world. One of the legends of women's football Marta (.i.e. five time FIFA world player of the year), currently applies her trade in USA. This show the NSWL is one of the best leagues in the world.

Player Attributes

Thembi is a hard worker on the pitch which is displayed by the way she press the defenders when they have the ball. This allows Banyan Banyana to defend from the front and prevent teams from building from the back and in some cases the pressure may lead to oppositions conceding a goal. The Banyana striker is blessed with blistering pace and guile. This is evident in the award she won for goal of the year.She is skillful and glide past defenders easily. Very often she dribbles past a few defenders to create a goal scoring opportunity for her team mates or to score. She is difficult to mark because she makes runs between the channels of the defenders. That is, spaces between the defenders. She is versatile, she can drop deep to collect the ball and usually defenders follow her and leave a big gap behind for other players to expose. Importantly, she can finish well.

At only the age of 22 years, she has a chance to write history by assisting Banyana Banyana to win the illusive African Women's Cup and at least get past the group stages in the World Cup.

References


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