Avatar photo

By Tshepo Ntsoelengoe

Football Journalist

Kgatlana sees the positives despite Banyana defeat

'To be honest, I think we gave our all and everyone in the team was determined to win the match,' said Kgatlana. 

Striker Thembi Kgatlana preferred to focus on the positives, after Banyana Banyana suffered a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to Sweden in their opening Group G game at the Fifa Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. 

Banyana put up a strong performance against the side ranked number three in the world, even taking the lead in the 48th minute through Hildah Magaia. 

But Fridolina Rolfo levelled for Sweden in the 66th minute, and a last minute header from Amanda Ilestedt gave the European nation all three points. 

“To be honest, I think we gave our all and everyone in the team was determined to win the match,” said Kgatlana. 

“From the first minute of the match, we knew that we had to play at a high pace. Sweden are one of the best teams in the world and we knew that we were going to have a difficult game. 

“But we were prepared for the match … we all wanted to win the match but things didn’t go our way,” added the striker. 

“I think we have to clap hands for ourselves, even though the result was not what we wanted. The performance was positive and it’s something that we can build on. We don’t have to put our heads down, we should just look forward to the next game.”

Banyana next face Argentina in their second group game on Friday. 

Kgatlana says the game will be vital for the team to win in their quest to get to the next stage of the tournament.

“We have another game coming up and it will be very important for us to win it. But I believe in the team and we know what we are capable of doing,” she added. 

“The truth is that Argentina will also be a difficult game. We just have to make sure that we keep our focus and try to do better.”

Kgatlana added that the fact that the team are competing as African champions also gives them confidence that they can do better than the last World Cup in France, where Desiree Ellis’ side lost all three of their group games. 

“We are African champions and we know that people expect us to do well. But that also gives us confidence and we have to use that to our advantage,” she continued. 

“I would like to thank our fans back home, they have been sending us positive messages and that also makes us want to do well.”

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits