Banyana duo on verge of signing new deals after leaving Houston Dash FC

JOHANNESBURG – Banyana Banyana players Linda Motlhalo and Thembi Kgatlana are on the verge of signing new deals after they ended their stay at Houston Dash FC in the USA.

The duo spent one season in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) side, where they joined defender Janine van Wyk – captain of the SA Women’s team.

The trio were the first South Africans to play in the USA – and have now all left the club.

Motlhalo registered with Houston Dash under former Banyana coach Vera Pauw at the beginning of February 2018 from JVW FC, and was followed by Kgatlana from UWC a fortnight later – both are in the Sasol League.

Speaking to SAFA.net, the players said they are close to signing new deals.

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“We cannot say much at the moment but we are very close to confirming new clubs as negotiations are at a very advanced stage and we could sign very soon,” said Kgatlana.

“It is true though that we have left Houston Dash, and we would like to take this opportunity to thank the club for everything they have done for us. They gave a great chance to grow our careers and we will never forget that. They opened their doors for us and made us feel comfortable. We were home away from home.

“But above all, they took a chance with us and allowed us to showcase the South African talent in this highly-competitive league – we are forever indebted to them. And gratitude also goes to former coach of Houston Dash Vera Pauw, who initiated our move.”

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Thembi Kgatlana in action for Banyana Banyana against the Netherlands. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

In a statement, the club said they appreciated the services rendered by the pair but could not stand in the way of them looking for a move elsewhere.

“We are grateful for everything Linda and Thembi have given the club. We wish them the best as they begin the next chapter of their career. We would have loved to have them join us in 2019, but we understand the complexities of the global game and the interest in players like Linda or Thembi.

This now gives our roster flexibility, including an open international spot as we continue to build the 2019 Houston Dash,” said Houston Dash coach James Clarkson.

The two players have been selected to be part of the Banyana squad of 23 players that will participate in the 12th edition of the Cyprus Women’s Cup, which takes place from February 27 to March 6. 

African News Agency (ANA)

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