History makers: Sundowns Ladies clinch first-ever CAF Women’s Champions League

Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies have clinched the inaugural edition of the TotalEnergies CAF Women’s Champions League after sealing a dominant 2-0 win over Ghana’s Hasaacas Ladies in the final showdown at the 30 June Stadium in Cairo. The unbeaten Brazilians thus finished the tournament without conceding a single goal. 

Both teams entered the highly anticipated final with contrasting tactical styles; Sundowns Ladies fielding a fluid 3-5-2 while the Ghanaian outfit started with a 4-2-3-1 formation. Thalea Smidt and Andisiwe Mgcoyi were recalled to the starting line-up after impressive showings against Malabo Kings in the semi-final.

The Brazilians started the game the brighter with midfielder Lerato Kgasago blasting a freekick over the bar after just seven minutes. The West Africans did settle into their rhythm but were unable to penetrate the well-oiled defense line of the South Africans for a majority of the first twenty minutes.

Ten minutes later, The Brazilians conjured up a moment of magic with Melinda Kgadiete delivering a defense-splitting pass for Mgcoyi who teed up Chuene Morifi for a deft finish. The goal was the first-ever strike registered in the CAF Women’s Champions League final. 

That goal sparked some level of urgency into the Ghanaian opponents who applied the pressures but were unable to penetrate the backline marhshalled by Captain Zanele Nhlapho, Karabo Makhurubetshi and Bambanani Mbane. Goalkeeper Andile Dlamini then showed her aerial dominance to take control of a corner kick, in what was the last act of the first half.

Sundowns Ladies began the second half on the front foot with Captain Nhlapho coming close with a header that was easily picked up by Hasaacas goalkeeper Grace Buoadu. Coach Jerry Tshabalala’s charges almost grabbed a second goal with red-hot Morifi setting up Lelona Daweti who narrowly missed the target. 

Masandawana continued to apply the pressure and midway through the second half, Mgcoyi who assisted the first goal grabbed the second strike of the game, thanks to a cute finish after a superb through pass from Nhlanhla Mthandi. The goal was fully deserved after a plethora of attacking moves which saw the Brazilians play with so much confidence.

The Ghanaian side upped their energy levels in the attacking third and was thwarted on several occasions by the highly-energetic Andile who was bent on keeping her third clean sheet of the tournament. Their best chance came from a free-kick, but Perpetual Agyekum’s fierce shot was pushed over the bar by Dlamini.

Sundowns Ladies then rang in a couple of changes with vice-captain Makhurubetshi and goal scorer Mgcoyi replaced by Regina Magolola and Rhoda Mulaudzi respectively. Regina did pick up a late red card, but The Brazilians had done enough to etch their names into the history books as the first-ever winner of the CAF Women’s Champions League.

Thanks to her attacking prowess throughout the game, Mgcoyi was named the ‘Woman of the Match’.

“I am very excited about this award. Most especially, becoming the first-ever winner of this historic tournament means so much to me, to the team, and the Yellow Nation at large. I always believe that it is not how you start the journey, but it is how you finish it. We finished strong and I am very happy with our performance in Cairo,” stated an excited Mgcoyi.

Goalkeeper Andile who showcased her reflexes between the sticks was named the best goalkeeper of the tournament after finishing with three clean sheets out of the team’s five in total.

“This award excites me and I am dedicating it to everyone who is associated with the Mamelodi Sundowns brand. I appreciate everyone for their prayers and support. Those words of encouragement kept us going; they pushed us and made us fight like Lionesses on the pitch. We have conquered the continent and we are looking to win more,” declared the confident goalkeeper. 

The victory means Mamelodi Sundowns become the very first African team to clinch the men’s and women’s Champions League titles.

Congratulations to our brilliant Ladies team as well as the Yellow Nation at large!!!

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