Thembi Kgatlana: “I’m a Striker, I’m Hungry!”

Banyana Banyana international Thembi Kgatlana walked away with the Player of the Match accolade, after opening her scoring account for Racing Louisville in the National Women's Soccer League in the USA on Sunday, 18 June 2023. Photo: Thembi Kgatlana (Instagram)

Banyana Banyana international Thembi Kgatlana walked away with the Player of the Match accolade, after opening her scoring account for Racing Louisville in the National Women’s Soccer League in the USA on Sunday, 18 June 2023.

Kgatlana bagged her goal in the team’s 2-0 win over Gotham FC at Lynn Family Stadium.

The 2019 Momentum gsport Awards Athlete of the Year winner made her debut for Racing Louisville on the 7th of June 2023, after being on the sidelines due to an injury she sustained in July 2022 at the CAF Women’s Africa Cup of Nations clash against Botswana.

“It was a very good game today (Sunday), very hot. We wanted to play this game, we are at home, third game in a row we are at home, we wanted to have a very strong, we knew that Gotham has a strong start, they always like to press, so I think it kept them thinking because we also play a different style of pressing so it was always them thinking are they going to press us or stay, and I think we played how we wanted to play and at the end we got the points.” Kgatlana said to her club’s media team.

“I’m a striker, I’m hungry I just came back from an injury and prior to that goal I had chances but I think my willingness to keep on going and not giving up is the one thing that pushed me to the goal and I always want to expose the defenders and I knew as soon as Katie went out it is always difficult for a defender to track back and so I just use the chance because there was so much space to go behind,” she said.

“It’s very important because we want to make the championship and we need to start winning. I think we’ve been doing so well for the Challenge Cup and I think coming into this match we said “at home with our supporters we need to give our all’ I mean every game we need we need to give our all, but I think it was important getting that first goal in the first half and then going on to get one in the second-half and maintaining how we play,”

Racing Louisville are currently eighth on the log table, having played 12 league matches as they try to make it to one of the six play-off spots in the NWSL.

“At this point I think we are focusing on making the championship and I think we’re taking one match at a time and so far, we’ve been doing so good, we’ve made so much progress with the Challenge Cup now it’s about time we start getting more into the rhythm of getting points,” the 27-year-old said.

Kgatlana is set to return to South Africa to join the Banyana Banyana team who are currently in a training camp ahead of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

She was named in the preliminary squad of 36 players which will be cut down to 23 before the start of the highly anticipated tournament.

Photo 1 Caption: Banyana Banyana international Thembi Kgatlana walked away with the Player of the Match accolade, after opening her scoring account for Racing Louisville in the National Women’s Soccer League in the USA on Sunday, 18 June 2023. Photo: Thembi Kgatlana (Instagram)

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