After clinching an unprecedented treble last season, Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies will be aiming to stamp their authority on the continental front yet again as they head to the COSAFA Women’s Champions League 2022 zonal qualifier to be held in Durban from August 7-13, 2022.
The Brazilians have vibrantly begun the Hollywoodbets Super League with 10 wins registered out of 11 games played thus far. Banyana Ba Style has netted 49 goals, conceded only 8 times, and has amassed a staggering goal difference of +41.
Here are five key reasons why the Continental Champions will be the team to look out for in Durban.
Kool Kalm Keepers
Although Mamelodi Sundowns is known for goal-scoring feats, the goalkeeping department in both the men’s and women’s teams has always been a beehive of classy shot-stoppers. Just recently, Masandawana’s number one goalie, Denis Onyango heaped praise on Andile ‘Sticks’ Dlamini after her outstanding showing at the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations. Simply put, Sticks has been magnificent in the past 12 months. After being named as the Best Goalkeeper at the inaugural edition of the CAF Women’s Champions League, she was named as the Best Goalie at the recently concluded Women’s Africa Cup of Nations which South Africa won.
Aside from Andile, the likes of Asa Rabalao and Sedilame Boseja have proven to be more than capable of shouldering the responsibility in the absence of Sticks. The team’s goalkeeping department led by Coach Koketso Tshabalala is a star-studded unit that is poised to deliver fireworks in Durban.
‘Juicy’ Defence Line
Bambanani ‘Juice’ Mbane has become a constant figure at the backline for both club and country. Like Sticks, Juice delivered a masterclass in Morocco which earned her a spot in the Team of the Tournament. Her presence in defence has enabled Sundowns Ladies to rack up incredible numbers. Throughout last season, Sundowns Ladies conceded just 15 times across the three competitions, keeping 21 clean sheets in 36 games.
Apart from Bambanani, Captain Zanele Nhlapho and Vice-Captain Karabo Makhurubetshi have continued to show their grit and defensive sturdiness. During the COSAFA zonal qualifier last year, Sundowns Ladies conceded just once!
Attack! Attack!! Attack!!!
In the Hollywoodbets Super League this season, Sundowns Ladies have bagged 49 goals with Andisiwe Mgcoyi, Boitumelo Rabale, Melinda Kgadiete and Rhoda Mulaudzi scoring 26 of them. That fearsome attacking quartet will be hoping to replicate their league form in Durban. After bagging her 10th goal of the season in the 3-1 win over the University of Johannesburg (UJ) Ladies, Andisiwe said, “I am so excited to score goals, but I am happier when the team wins. One of the attributes of a good striker is having an awareness of what happens in the final third and we have a couple of quality attacking players who can finish off the chances.”
One of Mgcoyi’s greatest strengths is her uncanny ability to find herself in the right place and at the right time. A natural goal-banger with a flair for improvisation, Mgcoyi will be a firm favourite for the Golden Boot Award in Durban having scored 27 times in the league last season.
Spick and span signings already shining
During the offseason, Sundowns Ladies acquired the services of Gabonnelwe Salome Kekana and Tiisetso ‘Bastos’ Makhubela from Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) Ladies and Miche Minnies from Vasco da Gama Ladies. All three have thrived! Goals against TUT Ladies and Bloemfontein Celtic Ladies have ensured that Kekana’s start to life at Chloorkop has been impressive.
Bastos has enjoyed her time thus far, but it is Minnies who has shone the brightest. Her four goals against First Touch Ladies took her tally to 8 goals in 11 games this season. All three signings will be hoping to further replicate their league form in the COSAFA zonal qualifier in Durban.
As the Continental Champions head to Durban, it is critical to state that the spine of the team consists of winners. From winning the inaugural edition of the CAF Women’s Champions League to having five players who tasted success at the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, the Chloorkop-based side will be banking on tournament experience as they go face to face with some of the finest teams in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.
Recently, Senior Coach Steve Komphela was full of praise for the winning mentality of Banyana Ba Style, “They say winning is a habit, but what you have done (winning the Club of the Year at CAF Awards), you have made it an addiction. You are making winning a craving. We wish you all the very best in Durban.”
Last season, Banyana Ba Style scored an incredible 22 goals across five games in the COSAFA CAF Women’s Champions League qualifiers and conceded just once.
We wish our Ladies all the best yet again in Durban!