Continental champions, Mamelodi Sundowns began the new Hollywoodbets Super League season on a positive note thanks to a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Ma-Indies Ladies FC at the Giyani Stadium in Limpopo. Goals from debutant Miche Minnies and Boitumelo Rabale were enough to hand The Brazilians an opening day victory.
Coach Jerry ‘Kappa’ Tshabalala deployed a strong team with new signings – Tiisetso ‘Bastos’ Makhubela, Miche Minnies, and Gabonnelwe Salome Kekana all handed their debuts in the season opener. Young midfield dynamo, Khunjulwa Mali who showed her class during the pre-season fixtures was also included in the starting line-up.
Banyana Ba Style began the game on the front foot with several attacking runs from Lelona Daweti who tested the opposition goalkeeper from close range in the opening passage of play. A few minutes after that, debutant Minnies grabbed Sundowns’ first goal of the season thanks to a fine strike.
Coach Tshabalala’s troops continued to apply the pressure with Melinda Kgadiete going close midway through the first half. Not long after, the Chloorkop-based side grabbed a second goal thanks to a well-taken penalty kick from Boitumelo Rabale.
That second goal sparked some urgency into the strides of Ma-Indies Ladies who conjured up a plethora of chances before halving the deficit just before the break. Andisiwe Mgcoyi who scored six times against Ma-Indies Ladies in the final game of last season was brought on at halftime for goalscorer Minnies, while Nonhlanhla Mthandi replaced Lelona Daweti.
Sundowns Ladies continued to dominate possession in the second half and even with the introduction of Rhoda Mulaudzi, Chantelle Esau, and Thalea Smidt for Khunjulwa Mali, Salome Kekana, and goalscorer Boitumelo Rabale respectively, Sundowns Ladies had done enough in the first half to seal the victory.
“Our opponents made the game quite difficult for us, but I must praise my team for their solid showing despite bouts of vulnerabilities. The goal they scored further gave them the belief that they could snatch something away from the fixture, but we showed our resilience once again. Our changes in the second half gave us that extra spine in key areas and I am glad that we held on to clinch an opening day victory,” stated Coach Tshabalala.
Kappa was also full of praise for the new signings who impressed in their first competitive outing for the club.
“As I said a few weeks ago, we acquired quality reinforcements during the pre-season and we saw a glimpse into their qualities during the game. There is more to come from them and I am happy with their respective debut performances,” concluded Kappa.
Up next for Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies FC is a clash against Golden Ladies.