After missing out on South Africa’s debut World Cup appearance in France in 2019, Melinda Kgadiete will be aiming to make up for lost time as she prepares to participate in this year’s edition, which will be held in Australia and New Zealand.
The Sundowns Ladies striker, Melinda Kgadiete, was recently named as part of the final 23-member squad that will represent Banyana Banyana at the global football showpiece, which is scheduled to take place from July 20 to August 20, 2023.
The Mdantsane-born forward expressed her delight after being named as one of the strikers to represent Coach Desiree’s highly competitive side Down Under.
“Being able to wear the national team jersey and compete on the world stage is a privilege that I do not take lightly. The FIFA World Cup is the pinnacle of women’s football and I am grateful for the chance to contribute to the success of the team. Missing out on the previous World Cup was disappointing, but it has fuelled my determination to make the most of this opportunity. I am excited to compete against the best players from around the world and to experience the atmosphere and intensity of the World Cup. I will embrace the challenge, stay focused and give everything I have to help the team achieve success,” Kgadiete stated.
Melinda has been one of the standout players in the Hollywoodbets Super League this season, thanks to her red-hot form in front of goal. The Sundowns Ladies’ goal-poacher, who has bagged an impressive 12 goals this campaign, is hoping to carry her domestic form into the World Cup.
“I believe that my role as a striker is crucial in contributing to the team’s success. Scoring goals not only boost our chances of winning matches but also motivates and energizes the entire team. I am fully aware that scoring goals requires hard work, dedication and seizing opportunities when they arise on the field. I am prepared to put in the necessary effort and take advantage of any scoring opportunities that come my way. Whether it is through my positioning, speed or technical skills, I will strive to make a significant impact in front of goal,” said Melinda.
On her favorite World Cup memory from previous tournaments that have inspired her, Kgadiete said, “It was a historic moment for South African football when Thembi Kgatlana scored our first goal in the tournament four years ago. It was a proud and memorable moment for the team and the entire nation. Seeing her make such an impact on the world stage inspired me and reminded me of the incredible opportunities that lie ahead in this year’s World Cup.”
Melinda was a key member of the South African team that achieved a historic milestone by winning their first-ever Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco last year. Additionally, she was also part of Desiree Ellis’ side that emerged victorious in the 2021 Aisha Buhari Women’s Invitational Tournament.
Kgadiete famously clinched the Golden Boot at the 2021 Women’s Champions League COSAFA qualifiers with a total of five goals. She also had the honour of scoring Sundowns’ first goal in the Champions League final tournament, which ultimately resulted in their victorious campaign in Egypt in November of the same year.
Wishing Melinda all the best at the World Cup!