Thembi Kgatlana shines on the big stage

SA lost to Nigeria in the penalty shootout.
SA lost to Nigeria in the penalty shootout.
Image: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Banyana Banyana forward Chrestinah Thembi Kgatlana has been adjudged the Total Woman of the Competition, the award given to the best player at the Women's Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana.

The 22-year-old talisman of Banyana team got the nod ahead of her peers as decided by the technical study group of the tournament.

Kgatlana was also the top scorer of the tournament after netting five goals in five matches.

The Randfontein-born player, and her captain Janine van Wyk and teammate Lebohang Ramalepe also made the tournament's best XI, despite Banyana's heartbreaking penalty shootout loss to Nigeria in Saturday's final.

It was a bitter pill to swallow for the Desiree Ellis side who were the better side throughout the normal playing time.

While Banyana will be proud of their achievements, losing to Nigeria is always something SA generally doesn't take lightly.

Noko Matlou, Mpumi Nyandeni and Mamello Mkhabane all scored for the South Africans from the spot, while Ramalepe and Linda Motlhalo missed to hand the Super Falcons yet another continental title.

Despite the loss, Banyana still received a hero's welcome yesterday when they landed at OR Tambo International Airport.

Saturday's match started in two teams' typical fashion with Banyana keeping possession for long periods, while the physically imposing Nigerians tried to muscle their way through.

Nigeria could have taken the lead when they were awarded a penalty in the 75th minute after the referee adjudged that Kaylin Swart had committed a foul in the box but Asat Oshoala's tame effort went wide as the match remained deadlocked.

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