13 October 2017 – In Gabriela Salgado, the South African U20 Women’s national team possesses one of the most clinical left footed finishers in the country. At the tender age of 19, “Gabby” as the left footed forward is affectionately known has represented the national team at all levels including Banyana Banyana.
Salgado forms part of U20 women’s national team coach, Maud Khumalo’s plans of making history and becoming the very first South African U20 Women’s side to qualify for a FIFA World Cup. A dream which is well within reach after the team recently progressed to the next round of qualifiers following their 9-0 aggregate win over Namibia.
The 19-year-old is one of many players produced from the High-Performance Centre and now plays her football with JVW in the Sasol Women’s League.
“I started playing football at age five for a club called Robetsham Celtics in Johannesburg before playing for another team which was then followed by a call up to join the High-Performance Centre academy. I am also proud to say that I received my very first senior national team call up this year which is something I do not take lightly” says Salgado.
The JVW attacker has since earned 26 caps under her belt which are accompanied by 18 goals in national team colours. However, Salgado says this is just the beginning and aims to take her football to the next level by playing in Europe in the next few years.
“I would like to one day play for a club in England where I can become an even better player. It obviously will not be easy getting there as you have to be exceptionally good but the harder I work for my club and country, the better my chances will be of playing football in Europe”
Basetsana’s next opponents in the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup qualifiers will be against Burundi on the first weekend of November with the exact date to be confirmed.