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.” 

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Luke Feltham
Luke Feltham

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

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