The countdown to this year’s edition of the CAF Women’s Champions League is underway and Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies are currently fine-tuning their preparations ahead of the continent’s premier tournament.
The third edition of the prestigious women’s club football event runs from 05 – 19 November, where eight clubs from across the continent will battle it out for the prestigious title of being crowned Queens of African women’s club football.
Banyana Ba Style has been drawn in Group A alongside the hosts and tournament debutants, Athlético Abidjan, as well as the Moroccan side Sporting Club Casablanca and Tanzania’s JKT Queens. Group B features Morocco’s AS FAR, Ghana’s Ampem Darkoa, Equatorial Guinea’s Huracanes, and Mali’s AS Mandé.
Coach Koketso Tshabalala, who leads the goalkeeping department, believes that the competitiveness of the Hollywoodbets Super League this season has better prepared the Brazilians for the upcoming tournament in Cote d’Ivoire.
“For me, I think it has given us an upper hand because I feel the team is at its peak. The recent consistent schedule of playing on Saturdays and Wednesdays has significantly contributed to our overall fitness and readiness. Now, our primary focus is to maintain our high level of performance and continue implementing the strategies and tactics that have proven effective for us. We believe in our capabilities and are determined to bring our best game to the tournament,” said the goalkeeping gaffer.
The Tshwane giants are heading to Cote d’Ivoire after clinching the COSAFA Qualifiers title for the second time in three editions. Coach Koketso believes that reclaiming the regional title speaks volumes about the team’s ambitions this year.
“For us, it was great winning COSAFA and taking back the cup after losing to Green Buffaloes in last year’s final. That means we are doing something right and we have learned our lessons. We are very motivated this season because we aim to win in every competition we participate in. I think it would be very nice to achieve that feat, yet again. Nevertheless, we have to work very hard at the upcoming tournament because every team will be driven by the desire to become the CAF Champions League winners,” he concluded.
Since clinching the COSAFA title, Sundowns Ladies have been in beast mode in the Hollywoodbets Super League, with the 1-1 draw against Royal AM being the only blemish in what has been a magnificent run of form. Since that draw, the Brazilians have won all five games, scoring 30 goals and conceding just once!
Coach Agnes Nkosi believes that this season’s league competition has equipped the team with skills to manage pressure effectively.
“The competitiveness of the Hollywoodbets Super League this season has been on another level. We have already gained valuable lessons and the demanding schedule has enhanced our ability to manage our workload and cope with pressure. We anticipate encountering a similarly high level of competition in the CAF tournament,” Coach Agnes stated.
Like Coach Koketso, Agnes is also looking forward to the prospect of tasting continental success once again. She stated, “The team is very motivated because we have been training hard for CAF. Our approach is to treat every game equally and maintain a winning mentality at all times. I am expecting a tough challenge in CAF; it is not going to be easy, but we are looking forward to bringing the Cup home.”
The Brazilians and AS FAR will be making their third successive appearance at the tournament, being the only two teams to have participated in every edition since the tournament’s inception.
Sundowns Ladies will kick off their campaign with a match against Tanzania’s JKT Queens on November 5th. They will then face Morocco’s Sporting Club Casablanca in their second game, followed by a match against Athlético Abidjan in their final group game.