Kgatlana's injury recovery signals good news for Banyana as pay parity with Bafana also set in stone

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  • Banyana's star forward Thembi Kgatlana has recovered sufficiently to be in line for World Cup selection later this year.
  • Kgatlana suffered an ankle injury during last year's Women's African Cup of Nations and was invalidated for the rest of the year.
  • The South African Football Association also announced that Bafana Bafana and Banyana Banyana would from now on be on equal pay terms.

The South African Football Association's chief medical officer Thulani Ngwenya said Banyana Banyana striker Thembi Kgatlana's recovery from an ankle injury has been so tremendous she should be available for World Cup selection later this year.

Kgatlana limped off with the injury during South Africa's Banyana’s final Women's African Cup of Nations group match against Botswana on 10 July last year.

She missed the knockout stages that were successfully negotiated by the team and didn't play football for the rest of the year.

There were fears that she could be touch and go for the World Cup in July that'll be hosted by Australia and New Zealand, but they were allayed by Ngwenya.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Ngwenya said Kgatlana's improvement had been nothing short of tremendous.

"She has done exceptionally well. She has been discharged from the orthopod and from all the medical people," Ngwenya said.

Banyana star Thembi Kgatlana and Safa chief medical officer Thulani Ngwenya. Photo: Daniel Mothowagae

"She's in full force now and she's due to go to the United States next week. We've been in constant contact with her team in the US and they're quite happy with what we've been doing.

"Thembi has done something remarkable and she's now ready to start playing again. I can guarantee that she'll be available for World Cup selection."

The good news regarding Kgatlana came against the backdrop of the men's and women's national teams now on equal pay terms from a match fee and bonus perspective.

This was an issue last year in the aftermath of their maiden Wafcon success in Morocco and the move to equalise the payment of players was confirmed by SAFA's chief executive officer Tebogo Motlanthe.

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis welcomed the good news of equal pay for her charges.

"The players sort out their own monies through their own negotiations," Ellis said.

"I'm not part of that, but we are very excited about this movement. It does happen when you get paid more."

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