There is no doubt that 22 year old newly crowned Africa Female Footballer of the Year Thembi Kgatlana‘s journey is an inspiring one and one that gives hope to many other upcoming female footballers who thought it was farfetched to triumph on Africa’s biggest stage, but Kgatlana revived their hope and showed them that it is possible.
The Houston Dash and Banyana Banyana star did not only clinch the Female African Footballer of the Year award but she also walked away with 2018 CAF Goal of the Year.
“If anyone told me that I would be an African champion at 22 years old, I would have probably killed them because they would be selling me dreams”. 2019 CAF Africa Female Footballer of the Year, Thembi Kgatlana.
Kgatlana thanked fellow Houston Dash and Banyana Banyana teammates, Janine Van Wyk and Linda Motlhalo, for supporting her and being there for her in her football journey, which has not always been easy.
Over the years, we have witnessed how women’s football in South Africa has not been given much hype as compared to the men’s football. Credit however must be given female players like Thembi Kgatlana that did not allow gender inequality in South African football to stop them from working hard towards their dreams and goals.
It is impossible for one to give credit without mentioning Sasol for their contribution in women’s football. This contribution began when Sasol went into a collaboration with SAFA in 2009 to form the Sasol League which allowed female footballers to compete against each other and get a chance to be selected as part of the women’s national team. Over the years we have seen the Sasol league growing from strength to strength and producing amazing talent while also fighting for gender equality in football.
The Sasol League has contributed immensely to Banyana Banyana’s success by producing talent. It has played the role of the National Women’s Soccer League (a league similar to the PSL, but for women) which is yet to be launched in South Africa.
To have the likes of Thembi Kgatlana, Linda Motlhalo, Janine van Wyk doing well even when they were not given much attention and support as their male counterparts is exactly the motivation and inspiration upcoming female footballers need to believe that they can also do it.
The long awaited National Women’s Soccer league is schedule to be launched in 2019, and there is no doubt that it will further contribute to the growth of women’s football in South Africa.
Photo caption: The Houston Dash and Banyana Banyana star Thembi Kgatlana not only clinched the CAF Female African Footballer of the Year award and the 2018 CAF Goal of the Year awards, but this achievement will also revive the hopes of other upcoming female footballers looking to triumph on Africa’s biggest stage. Photo Supplied
With editing by gsport