Grieving Kgatlana sacrificed family for country

After their heart-stopping 3-2 win over Italy in the last match of the group stages on Wednesday, Banyana Banyana captain Thembi “Pikinini” Kgatlana revealed that although she lost three family members in the last couple of weeks, she chose to remain in the camp with her teammate.

Kgatlana’s sacrifice has paid off handsomely after they qualified for the Last 16 of the Fifa Women’s World Cup.

Banyana made history by reaching the knockout stage of the competition when they defeated Italy 3-2 in a nail-biting clash in Wellington, New Zealand.

Bafana played in their first ever World Cup at the 2019 edition in France and came back without a point after they lost all their group stage matches. But they have showed an incredible improvement in this year’s tournament and were in control of their three matches against the third-ranked Sweden, Argentina and Italy.

“I have been in the camp and pushing everyday. Over the last three weeks I lost three members of my familyI – I could have stayed home but I chose to stay with my girls, because that is how much it means for me. I chose to be with this team and we got a lot of criticism but that’s football,” Kgatlana told TV crew after their win.

“I just came back from a brutal injury and for me to be here and play for the country and represent every girl that wants to be here, was very good. We all deserve it, it was a team effort, we may have messed up in the previous two games but this one we had to dig deep and you can see the girls are happy we made history.

“Today we told ourselves that we have to fight and we had nothing to lose. They (Italians) came here under a lot of pressure because they are highly ranked than us. The plan worked perfect for us because when you play against underdogs, they come running at you and we knew they would not match our pace and we capitalised,” Kgatlana added.

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