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Victory over Costa Rica boosts Banyana’s confidence

Kgatlana happy to find the back of the net

Neville Khoza Journalist
Thembi Kgatlana during a friendly match between banyana banyana and Costa Rica before the Fifa women's world cup.
Thembi Kgatlana during a friendly match between banyana banyana and Costa Rica before the Fifa women's world cup.
Image: Supplied

Following Banyana Banyana’s 2-0 victory over Costa Rica in their preparation match, coach Desiree Ellis is positive ahead of their Fifa Women’s World Cup opener against Sweden on Sunday.

Banyana will kick off their World Cup campaign against Sweden in their Group G opening encounter and Ellis said their match against Costa Rica gave them a clear indication on what to expect. 

The match was Banyana’s last warm-up friendly ahead of their meeting with third-ranked Sweden.

Thembi Kgatlana scored the opening goal in the first half, while Hildah Magaia netted the second in the second half to seal the victory.

“We always go into a game to win, but also to look at other areas. We look at performance, how we play, what areas we need to improve on,” Ellis told Safa media after the match.

“The win gives you a lot of confidence and the way we played also gives us a lot of confidence.

“We had to break them down, but I felt at times, we moved the ball around slowly, but the goal we scored was the movement and the good combination play, but we did too little of that.

“Very happy with the results. As the coach, I’m always looking for improvement, but today I thought we prepared very well.”

Ellis was also pleased with Kgatlana after scoring in her first match since returning from the injury that kept her out for more than a year.

“In a performance today, Thembi having been out for so long, it is as if she never left, and getting a goal will give her and the team a lot of confidence,” she said.

“She was instrumental in a lot of our moves and I’m very happy to give her some minutes and the goal will give her some confidence. We are happy with the performance and now we can concentrate fully on Sweden.”

Kgatlana was also happy to have found the back of the net.

“It was a mission to score coming back after a year. It felt great to have played more than 70 minutes,” Kgatlana said.

“As a striker, when I score, that's something that I've been practicing when I've been with my club Racing. It was amazing to see how I connected with my teammates after coming back from my injury.”

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