Banyana Banyana forward Kgatlana Thembi signs for Portuguese side Benfica Feminino

Author: Beatrice Laryea
Chrestinah Kgatlana Thembi with an official of the club.

The Confederation of African Football's 2018 Women's Footballer of the Year Chrestinah Thembi Kgatlana has joined Benfica Feminino for the rest of the season.

The 23-year-old South Africa international forward joins the Portuguese league leaders from Chinese Super League side Beijing BG Phoenix, where she joined in February, 2019.

Ambition

Kgatlana says she already has her eyes on the title despite the team only being promoted to the top-flight for this season.

"I thank the fans for their support. We are in first place in the Championship and I ask that they continue to support us so that at the end of the season we can lift the trophy," she told the club's website.

"I am very excited to sign for Benfica. I thank the team, the President, and everyone for giving me the opportunity to come to Portugal and Benfica.

"Benfica is a great club in Portugal and known around the world. I have already had the opportunity to see history and records, and for me, it is a great honour to be part of such a great club," she added.

Kgatlana has won 18 international caps and played in all three of Banyana Banyana's games as they made their debut at the Women's World Cup in France last year.

She was also key to their qualification to the World Cup as she finished as the Top Scorer and Player of the Tournament as South Africa finished as runners-up at the 2018 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations held in Ghana.

Qualities of Kgatlana

Benfica's vice-president, Fernando Tavares highlighted the qualities of the new signing and admitted they have "very high expectations" of her.

"We have very high expectations of Thembi. She was considered the best African of the year in 2018, she is a player with very strong characteristics, she is very fast, she can play one or two different positions," he told the club's website.