South Africa secured their spot in the last 16 after an exhilarating 3-2 victory against Italy in Wellington, marking their first-ever Women’s World Cup win with Thembi Kgatlana’s stoppage-time winner sealing the deal.
Kgatlana, the Racing Louisville forward, showed immense dedication to the team, choosing to stay with her teammates despite facing personal tragedy. Over the past two weeks, she lost three family members but decided to remain with the squad.
“Over the last two weeks, I’ve lost three family members. I could have gone home but I chose to stay with my girls,”
“Because that’s how much it means,” she expressed passionately.
The victory holds extra significance for Kgatlana, who battled back from a severe Achilles injury that sidelined her for ten months. Her determination to represent her country and inspire other aspiring young players was evident.
“I came back from a very, brutal injury to be here, to play for the country, to represent every single girl that wanted to be here, to make history with the girls for South Africa,” she stated.
Next up, South Africa will face the Netherlands, the winners of Group E, in what promises to be another exciting match on Sunday. The team’s triumph against Italy has filled them with confidence as they progress further at the Mundial in Australia and New Zealand