Our championship-winning ladies team coach Jerry Tshabalala has paid tribute to his players for their resilience even after losing three key players during the season, but still managing to bounce back to clinch the SAFA Women’s League title.
The feat now automatically qualifies them for the first ever Champions League launched for women after the CAF executive committee made the announcement earlier last week. Should coach Pitso Mosimane’s team also finish in the top two of the Absa Premiership, we will have two teams participating in the interclub tournaments.
Last month the motherbody took a decision to end the season and declare the current log standing final, thereby handing our ladies the trophy.
Coach Tshabalala praised his team, and the Mamelodi Sundowns management for supporting his vision from the onset.
“Hardly after playing our first league game we lost our two influential players in Andisiwe Mgcoyi and Zanele Nhlapho, who was our captain at the time. They both got themselves moves to European teams in Albania,” Tshabalala explains.
“And with a squad of 23 players, losing those two was a challenge on its own. We also had injuries that hit us hard after losing Lelona Daweti who has fit well in the shoes of Andisiwe, but we had to soldier on.”
He revealed that our General Manager, Kenneth Makhanya, was a regular at their training sessions to give them an extra push.
“We would really like to thank our senior management for the support given to the team during the entire season especially Mr Makhanya, who would leave his office and come to watch the team training and encourage the ladies to go out there and fly the Mamelodi Sundowns flag high,” the coach revealed.
“Our number one supporter Millicent Modipane for being at almost all our games, even the ones out of the province. She would always be there for the team. To the Gauteng south branches, we wouldn’t be champions if it wasn’t for their support and singing during the games especially during our home games.”
A driving force behind the team’s eventual unbeaten run in all 21 matches was their discipline, coach Tshabalala insisted.
“There’s no formula but I believe being disciplined and working hard at training was the key to our team achieving this feat. Our players were really disciplined and we played the entire season without collecting a single red card that really shows that the ladies were so disciplined. They knew that we needed one another and the team was very united, that was very key,” he said in conclusion.