With the inaugural edition of the TotalEnergies CAF Women’s Champions League well and truly underway, Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies will be looking to begin their campaign on the front foot when they face Kenyan side Vihiga Queens at the Cairo Military Academy Stadium on Saturday.
Masandawana heads into the maiden edition of the continent’s premier women’s tournament in high spirits after enjoying an incredible outing in the Hollywoodbets Super League. The numbers make for superb reading. After 22 games played thus far, Sundowns Ladies have racked up an impressive 20 wins, with just one draw and one defeat (as a ruling), scoring 72 goals and conceding just 11.
Banyana Ba Style currently enjoys a clean bill of health and have no injury worries ahead of the fixture against their Kenyan counterparts. More so, the return of goalkeeper Andile Dlamini, who has missed a lot of football this year due to an injury has been welcomed into the fold which comes as a massive boost to the reigning Hollywoodbets Super League champions.
The squad which comprises a rich blend of youth and experience has left Coach Jerry Tshabalala in an upbeat mode.
“What excites me the most about the team is the fact that we have quality embedded within our ranks. The players we have in our fold fit our style and philosophy. I am happy to see that the younger ones who have been with the team for some time have stepped up and are now shouldering responsibilities within the current crop. For example, when you see the likes of Oratile Mokwena, Lelona Daweti and Karabo Makhurubetshi, you get excited because they joined the club at a tender age and they are still part of the team. Presently, they are waxing strong and they are realizing their dreams by playing the biggest games of their lives at the pinnacle of African football. This shows that the younger ones are growing within the team,” stated Coach Tshabalala.
As the Chloorkop side prepares for their highly anticipated opening fixture against the Kenyan outfit, Coach Tshabalala believes his troops are ready to etch their names into the history books.
“I have communicated with my players on the need to write our names into the history books. Football lovers will be quick to mention Uruguay as the first-ever winner of the FIFA World Cup. Likewise, we are aiming to be in the history books, so that whenever the first-ever winners of the CAF Women’s Champions League are announced, our names will constantly be mentioned as winners. Therefore, we are in Egypt to write our history,” the highly tactical gaffer expressed.
Ahead of their first match in Egypt, Captain Zanele Nhlapho believes the team is ready to build on the success recorded during this season’s Hollywoodbets Super League.
“I am very excited with the way we have dominated the Hollywoodbets Super League. We are hoping to build on that dominance as the competition begins. We are constantly trying to maintain our focus and not to get carried away by the achievements we have accumulated in recent times. The energy levels within the camp are very high and the players are ready to give their best when we take to the pitch,” according to Captain Nhlapho.
The top two teams from each group will progress to the knockout stage of the competition and Coach Tshabalala hinted at the importance of grabbing maximum points from the get-go.
“It is very important to get three points in our first game because it improves our chances of reaching the semi-final stage of the competition. We have studied our opponents and we know how they play. We are focusing on our strengths and we are confident of starting the tournament on the front foot,” concluded Coach Tshabalala.
Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies square off against Kenyan side Vihiga Queens at the Cairo Military Academy Stadium on Saturday and the kick-off time is 16h00.
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