Kgatlana helps Banyana beat DRC in Olympic qualifier
Thembi Kgatlana’s brace late in the game sends her team to the third round
Banyana Banyana have kept alive their ambitions to qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games for the first time since 2016 after their hard-fought 2-0 victory over the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) at Orlando Stadium on Monday.
The African champions were made to dig deep to defeat a stubborn DRC in the second leg of the Caf Women’s Olympic qualifiers second round.
Star player Thembi Kgatlana scored twice in the final stanza to send her team to the third round of the qualifiers.
Banyana progressed 3-1 on aggregate after the teams played to a 1-1 draw in DRC last week. SA needed to win at home to progress to the next round because the away goal rule does not apply in these qualifiers.
Banyana were in control for most of the game and created a lot of scoring opportunities while there wasn’t much from DRC.
Players such as Kgatlana, Jermaine Seoposenwe and Hildah Magaia troubled the visitors’ defence, but they were unable to find the back of the net in the opening half.
SA continued to throw everything upfront in search of a goal in the final stanza. Their hard work finally paid off on 71 minutes when US-based Kgatlana found the back of the net.
Kgatlana was set up by Mamelodi Sundowns player Nicole Michaels who had a good game. Kgatlana completed her brace with two minutes left on the clock and ensured a victory for coach Desiree Ellis’ charges.
Banyana are determined to return to the Olympics stage after they missed out on the last one, in 2020, through their failure to book a spot. That was a step backwards after they had been part of the tournament in 2012 and 2016.