Kgatlana: Super Falcons no longer boast upper hand as Banyana Banyana have overseas experience

Banyana Banyana, Thembi KgatlanaBackpagepix

South Africa’s Thembi Kgatlana has sounded a warning that Banyana Banyana's fitness levels can now compare to Nigeria.

Banyana are currently in camp preparing for the upcoming Women's Africa Cup of Nations taking place in Morocco from July 2 to 23. The South African side have been pooled alongside the Super Falcons in Group C of the tournament.

The other teams in the pool include debutants Burundi and Botswana.

The 26-year-old Kgatlana, who currently turns out for Spanish side Atletico Madrid, believes they have matured.

“I think for a number of years Banyana hadn’t exported a lot of players overseas and that has given Nigeria and other teams the upper hand because they were able to export players,” Kgatlana told CafOnline.

“But then things are starting to look good and exciting for Banyana because we have a number of overseas-based players, that means they are training every day, physically and mentally, at a high level.

"And we have the Hollywoodbets (Super League) that is on season, that means the coaches will not have a problem getting the players to be fit than playing a tournament and some players are offseason."

Kgatlana further believes winning their opener will boost their chances of reaching the knockout stage.

“We don’t have to undermine anyone, it’s football and everyone is there to show what they can do and more specifically in our group having two debutants, for us it’s going to be a challenge to be disciplined and still be able to bring our A game even when we play teams that are lower ranked than us,” Kgatlana continued.

“I mean getting into the quarter or semi-finals for us is just taking one game at a time because we don’t want to say we’re gonna do this, do that and when things don’t happen we hold ourselves with a gun to the head.

“But taking one game at a time is what will help us, that is the same mentality we had in 2018 and the important thing was getting the results that we needed.”

South Africa will face Nigeria in their opener at Prince Moulay Hassan Sports Complex in Rabat on July 4.