Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies maintained their flawless record at this year’s CAF Women’s Champions League thanks to a 3-0 win over host team Athletico Abidjan at Stade Amadou Gon Coulibaly on Saturday night.
A stunning brace from Refilwe Tholakele and a deflected effort from Chuene Morifi was enough to seal the top spot in Group A and extend their perfect run at the ongoing tournament. The result also handed the Brazilians their 11th clean sheet in 13 matches in the competition’s history.
Banyana Ba Style also remains the only side in the competition with a perfect defensive record so far. Coach Jerry Tshabalala praised his team for executing the game plan to perfection once again and believes there is more to come.
“We knew what they were capable of; we noticed that they tend to run out of steam late in games. So, we capitalized on that by bringing in fresh legs towards the end of the match. We demonstrated great strength and pace in the latter part of the game and they struggled to keep up with the intensity. I am pleased with how we executed the game plan today and we are satisfied with the result. I believe there is so much the team can still offer as we gear up for the knockout phase,” Coach Jerry stated.
When asked about potential matchups in the semifinals of the competition, Coach Tshabalala expressed confidence in his team to go head-to-head with anyone.
“Look, we are ready for any team at this stage because to be the best in Africa, you have to beat anyone that stands in your way. That is our mindset and mentality at this stage. We have no preference for the next stage and we are going to prepare for the next match with all seriousness. We learned a lot in this group; we played against three teams that had different styles and philosophies and the experience gained will help us in the next stage,” the Downs coach concluded.
Khunjulwa Mali also praised the team’s overall performance, “We played very well today. Although we could not score in the first half, we remained calm and got the goals we deserved. We are happy to finish the group stage with three wins without conceding. Collectively, we are ready for the next game.”
Malebogo Shawe, who delivered a steady performance in defense as the Brazilians kept yet another clean sheet, praised the coaches for the tactical instructions provided throughout the game.
“Collectively, we fought for each other and we attacked and defended well. We were constantly communicating with each other and we kept receiving instructions from Coach Jerry. We are happy with our performance today and our attention is now focused on the next game,” Shawe stated.
Refilwe Tholakele’s brace means she has now scored three goals at the tournament, while Lebogang Ramalepe and Melinda Kgadiete have scored one apiece.
Congratulations to the Ladies’ team for reaching the knockout phase!!!