27 December 2018 – Banyana Banyana forward, Thembi Kgatlana has lavished praise on LaLiga through its African office for being at the forefront of aiding the South African Football Association (SAFA) in developing football talent in the country.
“LaLiga have been true friends of football development and one needs not to look further than their involvement at grassroots and amateur football across the country. As a result of their involvement, some great talent are being churned out from various SAFA Regions,” said Kgatlana.
The pint-sized striker of the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana was speaking at the KwaMahlobo Grounds in Meadowlands Zone 10 on Boxing Day, where she spent most of the afternoon watching the annual KwaMahlobo Festive Games, mingling with football revelers and also gave prizes to fans who attended Tuesday’s (26 December) games.
Apart from the KwaMahlobo Games, LaLiga has partnered with various SAFA Regions to promote grassroots and amateur football in areas like New Year’s Cup in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, as well as tournaments in Ekhurhuleni, Limpopo and Uthukela Region in KwaZulu-Natal.
“With LaLiga aiding most of these tournaments, there has been visible systematic order in these games and I was particularly impressed by the general organisation of the KwaMahlobo Games,” said the Banyana Banyana star.
Kgatlana who plays professional football in the USA with Houston Dash and runs her own women tournament in Motlakeng in the West Rand, said efforts by LaLiga in profiling local football needs to be praised and encouraged for other corporate companies to join hands in developing football in the country.
The diminutive striker was the toast at the recently ended Africa Women Cup of Nations tournament in Ghana where she ended the competition as the top goal-scorer with five goals and won three Woman of the Match awards, earning her the biggest accolade of Player of the Tournament.
The 22-year old is in the running to win Africa’s Best African Woman Player of the Year. The award ceremony will be held in Dakar, Senegal on 8/9 January.
The ongoing KwaMahlobo Games have been drawing huge crowds daily and the finals will be played on 5 January 2019 where high-ranking officials are expected be part of the day-long proceedings.