Thembi Kgatlana explains why she chose China for big move

Banyana Banyana star Thembi Kgatlana on Friday opened up about why she decided to choose China as her next destination. 

The midfielder’s move to Beijing BG Phoenix FC in the Chinese Super League was confirmed earlier in the day. After her and Linda Motlhalo parted ways with the Houston Dash in the United States, it was only a matter of time until the reigning CAF African Women’s Player of the Year secured a big move.

“I think my performance at Afcon really got people wanting to associate themselves with me and it was a matter of time before my agent got an offer,” she said after Banyana’s early afternoon training session at the University of Johannesburg’s Bunting Road campus. “It took this long because we had a lot of offers and we took the time to select the right one.”

Kgatlana will join up with her new teammates after the national team returns home from the Cyprus Cup. The side flies out tomorrow and is set to face Finland in their opening game on Wednesday.

China has become an attractive option for players as it continues to pour money into the development of women’s football – an initiative that’s seen it’s own national team rise to 15th on the international rankings.

“The league they have there is gowing, everyone is going there,” Kgatlana continues. “There are a couple of Africans that are already there. It’s a market that’s growing and they’re attracting a lot of African players. Most of the times in the leagues we are not easily accepted. You first have to have a lot of achievements before someone gives you an opportunity.

“I’m living my best life now in terms of exploring my football and if a team wants to give me a job I go wherever I need to go.” 

Subscribe to the M&G for R2 a month

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

And for this weekend only, you can become a subscriber by paying just R2 a month for your first three months.

Luke Feltham
Luke Feltham

Luke Feltham runs the Mail & Guardian's sports desk. He was previously the online day editor.

Related stories

Covid-19 stems ‘white’ gold rush

The pandemic hit abalone farmers fast and hard. Prices have dropped and backers appear to be losing their appetite for investing in the delicacy

China’s resource-for-infrastructure deals

Are RFIs a viable model for aiding Africa’s economic development?

South African football has lost a feminist in Anele Ngcongca

The Bafana Bafana defender valued women who loved sport

China blamed for Zambia’s debt, but the West’s banks and agencies enabled it

The narratives about the African country’s debt crisis are being used as fodder in geopolitical battles

The rise of SA players abroad is good for Banyana

The growing list of professional women footballers plying their trade at overseas clubs could be the missing piece the side needs to conquer the continent after five failed attempts.

Muddying the waters in the Musina Makhado economic zone

The public participation process on the environmental impact assessment for the area’s special economic zone has been shambolic

Subscribers only

Q&A Sessions: Frank Chikane on the rainbow where colours never...

Reverend Frank Chikane has just completed six years as the chairperson of the Kagiso Trust. He speaks about corruption, his children’s views and how churches can be mobilised

ANC: ‘We’re operating under conditions of anarchy’

In its latest policy documents, the ANC is self-critical and wants ‘consequence management’, yet it’s letting its members off the hook again

More top stories

Covid-19 stems ‘white’ gold rush

The pandemic hit abalone farmers fast and hard. Prices have dropped and backers appear to be losing their appetite for investing in the delicacy

Al-Shabab’s terror in Mozambique

Amid reports of brutal, indiscriminate slaughter, civilians bear the brunt as villages are abandoned and the number of refugees nears half a million

South Africa’s cities opt for clean energy

Efforts to reduce carbon emissions will hinge on the transport sector

How designing ‘green’ buildings can help to combat the climate...

South Africa’s buildings account for 40% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. But the City of Johannesburg’s new draft green buildings policy aims to change that

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…