27 January 2020 – Banyana Banyana forward Thembi Kgatlana has become the latest South African woman to join an overseas club.
Following hot on the heels of Kelso Peskin, who is now on the books ofFrench side Toulouse FC Féminines, and Linda Motlhalo who signedDjurgarden in Sweden, Kgatlana will now turn out in the colours of Benfica Feminino in Portugal.
The 2018 CAF Women’s Player of the Year, and nominee in 2019, joins from Chinese Super League side Beijing BG Phoenix.
The 23-year old is exciting about her new football chapter.
“I thank the fans for their support. We are in first place in the Championship and I ask that they continue to support us so that at the end of the season we can lift the trophy,” said Kgatlana on the club’s website.
Benfica’s vice-president, Fernando Tavares was equally excited to have secured the signature of Kgatlana.
“I am very excited to sign for Benfica. I thank the team, the President, and everyone for giving me the opportunity to come to Portugal and Benfica. This is a great club in Portugal and known around the world. I have already had the opportunity to see history and records, and for me, it is a great honour to be part of such a great club.”
“We have very high expectations of Thembi. She was considered the best African of the year in 2018, she is a player with very strong characteristics, she is very fast, she can play one or two different positions,” said Tavares on the club’s website.
She was part of the Banyana Banyana squad that qualified for the FIFA Women’s World Cup for the first time ever, and scored South Africa’s only goal at the tournament.
“This acquisition gives Benfica’s attack several new options to add to the ones we already have.”
Kgatlana spent only one season in China, and before that played for Houston Dash in the USA.
- Sport Lisboa e Benfica, commonly known as Benfica, is a Portuguese women’s footballteam based in Lisbon
- They play in the Campeonato Nacional– the top-level women’s football league in Portugal, following promotion in the 2018–19 season
- Founded on 12 December 2017, it is the women’s football section of sports club S.L. Benfica
- They have won one Second Division title, one Portuguese Cup and one Super Cup (the first two trophies in their debut season)
- Their home ground is the 4,500-seater Estádio da Tapadinha.