Sports

After Nigeria, South Africa suffer injury blow

By Oviri Kelvin, Sports Editor

South African ace striker and 2018 CAF Women’s African footballer of the year, Thembi Kgatlana has been ruled out of the 2022 TotalEnergies Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) in Morocco after rupturing her Achilles tendon against Botswana on Sunday night at the Mohammed V Stadium, Casablanca.

Kgatlana has been very impressive for Banyana Banyana of South Africa, opening her goal account against Burundi while causing several difficulties in the opponent’s defensive lineup. The Trumpet Gathered

The country is slated in the quarter-final to face Tunisia on Thursday in Rabat but the 26-year-old, who newly signed for Racing Louisville in the NWSL, USA, and has been out of the tournament, presents coach Desiree Ellis of Banyana Banyana an arduous task in exploiting other options for a capable replacement.

However, the South African striker is not the first to suffer a major injury blow in the WAFCON event in Morocco as Nigeria and Barcelona Femini striker, Asisat Oshoala suffered a Grade 2 Medial Collateral Ligament strain that resulted in her being ruled out of the tourney completely. She has since returned to Spain to get herself fixed by the medical team of her club.

Confirming the incident of Kgatlana, the team’s medical doctor, Rodney Mokoka disclosed that the MRI scan result proved that 2018 Women’s African Footballer of the Year completely ruptured her left Achilles tendon.

“Thembi suffered a complete rupture of her left Achilles tendon as confirmed by the MRI scan this morning,” Mokoka said.

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“Unfortunately, she will be out for the whole WAFCON 2022 tournament. She is due to undergo an operation back in South Africa.”

“Healing will be guided by certain milestones that we have to achieve. Of course a comprehensive rehabilitation program will be in place for her, but the quicker we achieve those milestones the sooner she will be back on the field of play.

“She will start jogging in about 12-16 weeks, which is roughly three months, return to non-sport after 16-21 weeks and return to contact sport 20-24 weeks from now,” the doctor explained.

Kgatlana’s absence is indeed a big blow for coach Ellis and the Banyana Banyana having set a target to win their first WAFCON title in the continent.

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