Zambian champions Green Buffaloes have clinched the 2022 TotalEnergies CAF Women’s Champions League COSAFA Qualifier thanks to a 6-5 penalty shoot-out victory over Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies in the final at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Durban on Saturday.
A highly competitive final offered no goals in both regulation time and extra time. The Zambian side then showed their class in the penalty shoot-out to register a famous win over the continental champions and become the second side to win the COSAFA Qualifier title.
Before the final, both teams were already assured of a place at the TotalEnergies CAF Women’s Champions League finals in Morocco later this year and will represent the COSAFA region in the continent’s premier women’s tournament.
Coach Jerry ‘Kappa’ Tshabalala was full of praise for Green Buffaloes who showed their class throughout the tournament.
“Our opponents prepared so well for this competition, and they deserve all the plaudits. They showed their tactical and technical strengths in the final and the game of penalties is always a 50-50 contest. Their performance at this tournament showed how much they have improved from last year. Like I said during the build-up to the final, the game has improved from what it was a few years ago and the competitiveness of the sport will continue to rise,” Kappa stated.
Thanks to her sterling performance in the final, Bambanani Mbane was adjudged Player of the Match. Meanwhile, Sundowns forward Melinda Kgadiete claimed the Player of the Tournament award after bagging three goals.
The Golden Glove Award was claimed by Green Buffaloes goalkeeper Aisha Mbwana. Thanks to five strikes, Green Buffaloes star Ireen Lungu claimed the Golden Boot while Double Action took home the Fair Play prize.
With the quality of the football displayed in Durban, Kappa believes the competition in Morocco will provide more excitement and unpredictability.
“The level of competition in women’s football is rising at an astronomical pace. As defending champions, several teams will be looking for ways to nullify our threats. Therefore, we need to step up our momentum in Morocco and find ways to finish our chances when they come. What we saw in Durban already tells us that the battle in Morocco will be tough. Nevertheless, these are the kind of challenges that forges true champions, and we are prepared to defend our title,” Kappa concluded.
Earlier in the day, Botswana’s Double Action Ladies claimed the bronze medal with an easy 3-0 victory over Olympique de Moroni of Comoros.