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Thembi Kgatlana: South Africa aim to use the Women's World Cup to get contracts abroad

21:31 GMT+3 07/06/2019
Thembi Kgatlana - South Africa
Banyana Banyana will make their debut on the world stage against Spain and the striker hopes they can showcase their talents

South Africa striker Thembi Kgatlana says the team's players are aiming to use the 2019 Women's World Cup as a showcasing platform for themselves.

Banyana Banyana have made an incredible rise in the women's game, recording back-to-back outings at the Women's Olympic football tournament.

This time, they are competing for the first time on the world stage, although only eight of the 23-team squad currently play professional football abroad. 

Kgatlana starred for Banyana at the Women's Cup of Nations in 2018, landing her a lucrative deal with China's Beijing Phoenix in February 2019.

Even though they hope to do the country proud, the 23-year-old admits that they also harbour ambitions to impress in a bid to secure professional offers overseas.

“I think the World Cup is the right platform to put Banyana on the map,” Kgatlana told Fifa.com.

“Seven months ago, yes people knew about Banyana, but we didn’t have the same support that we have now that we have qualified for the World Cup.

"The impact is so huge, people are starting to notice us. Teams overseas are starting to show interest in Banyana players.

"We have about eight players, if I am not mistaken, that are currently playing professional football.

“I think using the World Cup will be quite important for the team because then more players will be chosen to go and play professional football.

"That will open many doors for the country and for the girls to be able to give back to the country.”

As the reigning African Women's Footballer of the Year, all eyes will be on Kgatlana in Le Harve, when South Africa lock horns with Spain at Stade Océane on Saturday.