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Banyana will focus on Jamaica first

Thembi Kgatlana of South Africa says that how Banyana Banyana fares in France at the World Cup cannot be predicted yet.

REIGNING CAF Women’s African Footballer of the Year, Thembi Kgatlana, doesn’t want to promise too much ahead of the much-anticipated World Cup in France. The showpiece will kick-off on June 7 and end a month later, on July 7.

The women’s senior national team who are competing in their maiden World Cup, are in a difficult group with Germany, Spain and China.

Kgatlana (pictured), who had a memorable 2018 having walked away with the Golden Boot and the Player of the Tournament gongs at the African Women’s Cup of Nations in Ghana following sparkling displays, said that it’s a matter of wait and see.

“Football changes, so I can’t promise I will do what I did last year. We will see when we get to the World Cup,” Kgatlana said when asked if she could replicate the brilliance of the previous year.

Barren run

However, despite all the accolades and achievements, she hasn’t been overwhelmed by success: “I haven’t changed – I’m still the same. The only thing that changes is the status,” she said.

Banyana are going through a barren run of results. They haven’t won a match since beating Mali in the semi-finals of the Afcon in Ghana last year, but Kgatlana is not fazed.

“It is not a worry because in football you win some and lose some. You have to learn from most of the games. For us it is all about preparations for the World Cup.

“Yes, it is a challenge that we haven’t won any game since Mali, but it is a good thing because we get to learn from our mistakes. There’s still time, but we can’t relax, “Kgatlana said.

Banyana will face Jamaica in a friendly match at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban at 3pm on Sunday. It is their last game in front of home supporters before the World Cup.

Their friendly next match, as they prepare for France, will take place on Sunday, May 12, at the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California home to the San Francisco 49ers.

But Kgatlana refuses to get ahead of herself. “We have to face Jamaica and get a result and then we can shift focus to USA ,” Kgatlana said.