Thembi Kgatlana looks ahead to China against South Africa
Updated 17:36, 13-Jun-2019
Wang Meng

China will face their second opponent, South Africa, later today in FIFA Women's World Cup. A few weeks ago, CGTN's Mike Fox sat down with South Africa's 23-year-old forward Thembi Kgatlana, who plays her club football at Beijing BG Phoenix. 

She says playing in Beijing is different.

"I think the Chinese league [has a] more different atmosphere than I played in the U.S. and South Africa. I told myself when I came here, I should [have an] open mind because I could not be getting what I [am] used to getting in the U.S. or in South Africa."

Despite their 4-3 penalty shootout defeat to Nigeria in the final of the African Women's Cup of Nations last year, Banyana Banyana's Thembi Kgatlana was named as the player of the tournament. The South African striker finished the tournament as the top scorer, netting five goals to help Banyana to the AFCON final and helping the side qualify for their first FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.

Thembi Kgatlana of South Africa scores her team's first goal in the World Cup. /VCG Photo

Thembi Kgatlana of South Africa scores her team's first goal in the World Cup. /VCG Photo

"I have never forgotten the warm and loud [support] from the people back home, supporting us each every day in the tournament. It was tough to play Nigeria and Ghana among with big teams in the AFCON (Africa Cup of Nations), but we conquered everything."

Kgatlana, the reigning African women’s footballer of the year‚ netted Banyana's first World Cup goal with a stunner against Spain‚ but is now focused on their crucial clash with China.

"I think it's going to be the most interesting clash when I face off my teammates in China. We lost 2-0 to China at the Olympic Games in 2016‚ but I am sure they can testify to the [toughness] of the match. I am not going back to [have] revenge because we have a mission as a team. And it's going to be interesting to see who is able to take victory."