Kgatlana warns Banyana not to underestimate Burkina Faso
Kgatlana says defending Wafcon trophy starts with qualifiers.
Banyana Banyana striker Thembi Kgatlana (Picture: Brad Smith/ISI Photos/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)
Banyana Banyana captain Thembi Kgatlana says the fact they are a better-ranked team than Burkina Faso doesn’t mean they’ll have it easy against The Senior Ladies Stallions.
Burkina Faso are ranked 139th in the world, while Banyana have gone up to the 45th spot following their improved performances at the last edition of the Fifa Women’s World Cup.
The sides will meet in the first-leg clash of the final round of the Caf Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon) qualifiers at Charles Konan Banny de Yamoussouko Stadium in Ivory Coast on Thursday.
Kgatlana, who led Banyana to their first-ever Wafcon last year, says the journey to defend their title starts now and they know every team will be gunning for their blood.
“First we look at the rankings, we are a better-ranked team than them. But, it doesn’t mean anything in football. It is just something that can give us confidence for the match. Another thing is that we are the African champions, so we need to start this journey now by qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations and start strong,” said the Banyana striker.
“I said to the rest of the team in our meetings that everybody is coming for us. We just need to be level-headed and play the way we normally play because the biggest goal is to defend our title next year.”
Kgatlana added many players in the squad are used to the situation of travelling in Africa and they know what to expect when playing away from home.
“It’s been a long year, played a lot of tournaments and travelled everywhere. We travelled to Congo before this one for the Olympics. A similar trip to this one – long, demanding, but I think the majority of the girls from the Under-17 and Under-20 have been in this situation before,” she continued.
“So, it’s something that we know it’s going to happen, we are going to be frustrated, we know they are going to make us get out of the game. But, what we know is that we have to get a win knowing when we go home we will be comfortable and understand the setting and play better.”
The second leg will be played at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Monday, 4 December with the winner qualifying for the continental competition, which will be held in Morocco next year.