Coupe du Monde Féminine de la FIFA 2023
- The draw for the 2022 Africa Women Cup of Nations qualifiers takes place on 10 May
- The competitors will double as the qualifying match for the subsequent FIFA Women’s World Cup
- Three years in the past, Nigeria beat Thembi Kgatlana’s South Africa in the continental ultimate
It was with a mixture of satisfaction and disappointment that South Africa concluded the final CAF Africa Women’s Cup of Nations three years in the past. In reaching the ultimate of the continental contest, that they had additionally achieved a maiden qualification for the FIFA Women’s World Cup™, however for the fifth time of their historical past, they fell at the final hurdle, shedding out to Nigeria (0-0, 4-3 on penalties).
“We’ll get the rub of the green eventually,” Thembi Kgatlana, prime scorer and recipient of the Player of the Tournament award in 2018, informed FIFA.com. “Nigeria have been the dominant drive for a very long time now, however I really feel like issues are beginning to change.
“The Nigerians may need overwhelmed us on penalties in the ultimate, however we’d already received a 1-0 win against them in our opening group match. And we’re not the solely ones. African soccer is more and more aggressive.”
In reality, no fewer than 20 further groups will likely be current in the beginning blocks this time round, compared to the earlier qualifying marketing campaign. With 4 computerized spots at the World Cup up for grabs, in addition to two berths at the play-off match, there will likely be an affordable probability of newcomers imitating the Banyana Banyana, who had by no means appeared on girls’s soccer’s best stage previous to France 2019.
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Due to the incontrovertible fact that they each come from the similar continent, that they’re supremely proficient, and that they play their membership soccer in Spain (one at Eibar, the different at Barcelona), Thembi Kgatlana and Nigeria’s Asisat Oshoala are sometimes in contrast with one another.
“She’s a good player, with bags of experience, but I don’t regard her as a rival,” defined 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?”
A strike to remember
“In terms of atmosphere, level of play and passion, nothing can compare to a World Cup – that’s the be-all and end-all for a football player,” she stated. “It’s a dream for anyone to represent their country at the highest level. And it’s incredible to get the opportunity to see how you measure up against the best players in the world and to play alongside them. As far as I’m concerned, that’s what I want to experience, again and again and again.”
The three defeats suffered by the South Africans at France 2019 (1-3 versus Spain, 0-1 versus China PR and 0-4 versus Germany) have clearly not had an excessive amount of of an antagonistic impact on the morale of the energetic ahead. She did attain a notable comfort prize throughout the match: by scoring a gem against Spain, she turned the first South African participant to hit the again of the internet at a Women’s World Cup.
“We had waited so lengthy to stamp our ticket for the World Cup,” said Kgatlana. “After a few years of preparation, hopes and disappointments, we made it, and to attain a objective in our first look was the cherry on the cake.
“I’ll remember that objective for the rest of my life. I may describe the construct-as much as the objective, proper all the way down to the slightest element. It was actually essential that we rating, and it eased our disappointment at not getting previous the first spherical. To sum up, that objective has delight of place in my assortment.”
Kgatlana definitely is aware of a factor or two about hitting the internet, and it’s a talent she has exhibited throughout the world. In addition to her 59 worldwide appearances (19 objectives), the majority of which have been performed in Africa, she has additionally plied her commerce at membership stage in North America (Houston Dash, United States), Asia (Beijing BG Phoenix, China) and Europe (Benfica, Portugal, then Eibar, Spain). Given that the adventurous 25-12 months-previous has a level in tourism, this impulse to journey is maybe not all that stunning.
“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,” stated Kgatlana, who has notched ten objectives 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.”
And which may be simply as properly, as a result of Kgatlana’s upcoming schedule seems somewhat hectic. As properly as Liga matches each weekend, the South African striker has a quantity of nationwide-staff fixtures to sit up for. In explicit, there’s the small matter of a title to defend at the COSAFA Women’s Championship and, of course, the risk of lastly claiming that elusive Africa Cup of Nations crown in 2022.