A year ago, Banana Banana forward Gabriela Salgado was nursing a broken heart and a broken collarbone. The former was a direct consequence of the latter.
That’s because the injury forced coach Desiree Ellis to pull the young striker out of her plans for the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon). It was a huge blow for the left forward, who was looking forward to hitting her first major tournament as a senior.
“It was very disappointing. Heartbreaking. I got injured two days before I had to go to camp,” Salgado said Daily Maverick Before leaving the South African women’s soccer team to participate in this year’s FIFA World Cup, which will be hosted by New Zealand and Australia.
The 25-year-old described the experience of watching her teammates reach the gold standard and win the continental competition for the first time in their history as “difficult”. Before you add that, in the end, I was elated to see them bring the Wafcon Cup to South Africa for the first time in history.
“It was very difficult for me to accept that I would miss the opportunity and not go with the team to Wafcon. Especially since I was part of the team. Going through the preparations, qualifying and all that. I put in a lot of work to be part of this team,” Salgado shared.
“[Ultimately]They made everyone proud. They are back as champions of Africa.”
Time is running
Of course, injuries are an integral part of sports. Although the tournaments that come before the big ones always bother you. However, the Johannesburg-born star says the unfortunate experience has made her a gamer and has taken her game to the next level.
“My injury is behind me. I’ve moved on. It’s been a year now. I don’t cling to things that happened in the past. I grew out of that,” Salagado, who dances JVW colors in the Hollywoodbets Super League, shared the South African summit.
“I’m in a very good place at the moment. I feel good on the field with JVW. I’ve been doing my best. Scoring goals and getting back to what I do best as a player.”
Salgado, a native of Johannesburg – who was born and raised in the city to a father of Portuguese descent and a mother with roots in Lebanon – has represented South Africa at all levels internationally.
In recent years, it has become a mainstay in the preparation of baniana. Now she’s part of the team that aims to rewrite history on the New Zealand and Australian masterpiece over the next few weeks.
“I am very excited and honored to be part of the team that will participate in the World Cup. It is something every girl dreams of and here I am living my dream. I can’t wait for the tournament to start,” Salgado said. Daily Maverick.
With the standards and quality of women’s soccer continually improving, the task of selecting the final players to start from Down Under proved particularly challenging for Baniana Ellis coach and her coaching staff. Something Salgado acknowledged.
“It was tough to get to the Final 23, but I’m just happy I made the team. Hopefully, at the World Cup, we can go and showcase our talents, and make the country proud,” said Salgado.
Of course, despite the stiff competition for game time in the tournament, the JVW forward isn’t heading out there just to mess her thumb on the bench. She is looking forward to accumulating as many minutes under her belt as possible.
This position will be important because Ellis needs every player to step up in the tournament. South Africa made its FIFA World Cup debut just four years ago, finishing last in their group without any points from their three matches.
In their second appearance, they are in a more challenging minor league. They are ranked with Sweden in third place, as well as Italy and Argentina. Both countries are ranked in the top 30 in the latest FIFA rankings. Banana is 54.
“We know we have a tough group. But in football, it’s a 90-minute game and anything can happen. I mean, look at Morocco in the Men’s World Cup, how far they’ve gone.” [against all odds]Salgado said Daily Maverick.
“It’s about faith. I feel we have a good team around us, our technical team has been strengthened. We have good players. We have a strong and united team. A team that knows what we want to go for and achieve,” the legendary forward continued.
“We just need to take it every game at a time. Anyway, playing against the best in the world makes us better. We’re going there to learn and gain experience. And, obviously, to do our best and get as far as we can.”
As one of the most respected players in the Banana team, who has yet to taste the joy of playing abroad, Salgado is also looking forward to the tournament as a stepping stone to reaching those heights.
Such drive and hunger can only bode well for the team as they embark on the difficult task that lies ahead, aiming to prove their critics wrong while making the country proud. DM