Why Paris 2024 is on Thembi Kgatlana's Banyana Banyana bucket list

Why Paris 2024 is on Thembi Kgatlana's Banyana Banyana bucket list

Banyana Banyana striker Thembi Kgatlana has shared why playing at next year’s Olympic Games in Paris with her teammates is high up the bucket list ahead of the national team’s clash against DR Congo this afternoon.

South Africa played a 1-1 draw against their opponents last week in Kinshasa and a goalless stalemate at Orlando Stadium will mean that the game will go into extra time and if the score is level after extra time, the match will go into penalties.

Kgatlana says having featured in successive FIFA World Cup tournaments as well as winning the WAFCON, the Olympics is the obvious next phase.

"The fact that we couldn't qualify for the Olympics the last time, I think has to fuel us because we are a team that always wants to go to big tournaments. Olympics, we've been there twice before. The World Cup, twice. So, it's more about like I said keeping the momentum and going for the big tournaments," Kgatlana said.

Getting to the multi-sport event takes some effort with four qualifying rounds being played across the continent. Kgatlana admits this is challenging, but wants Banyana to continue playing to their strengths.

"It's not gonna be easy of course and like I said a lot of people are looking at us as African Champions. They wanna beat us. They bring their A-game. So, it's only fair for us to do the same. To perform, to bring our A-game and to make sure that we play how we wanna play and take out a lot of pressure coming from outside," Kgatlana added.

At Orlando Stadium this afternoon, despite the rain and cold conditions, getting to play the second leg at home should suit Banyana according to Kgatlana.

"I think number one is the weather, it was very hot. It's not an excuse, we can't control that but at home, we know how it feels like to play in any kind of weather. So, I think that's an advantage for us too and the facilities that we have. They had a turf pitch and we have a grass field. So, I think in terms of how we play it's gonna suit our game because we wanna move the ball. Turf holds the ball, it's hot, it's just a lot but I think on grass we are more comfortable. We are a team that likes to play the ball and that's going to give us some sort of confidence."