South Africa's Thembi Kgatlana signs for Benfica Feminino

Chrestinah 'Thembi Kgatlana at the 2019 Women's World Cup
Chrestinah 'Thembi Kgatlana played in all three of South Africa's games at the 2019 Women's World Cup

The Confederation of African Football's 2018 Women's Player 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, who she signed for in February 2019.

Kgaltana 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."

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 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 Women's Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana.

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.

"This acquisition gives Benfica's attack several new options to add to the ones we already have."

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