The Mamelodi Sundowns youth development sides will aim to continue their remarkable performances in recent competitions as the youngsters prepare to participate in the Engen Knockout Challenge, which takes center stage from 7-9 July 2023 at Marks Park Emmarentia in Johannesburg.
The club’s Promotional League U/16, U/17 & U/18 girls, coached by Andisiwe Mgcoyi, Rhoda Mulaudzi, Zanele Nhlapho and Andile Dlamini, have been placed in Group D alongside Panorama, Bantwana Ladies and Norkem Park.
Coach Andisiwe firmly believes that the girls possess immense talent and potential to excel in the upcoming tournament.
“This competition presents yet another valuable opportunity for the girls to demonstrate their skills and abilities. The coaching staff has dedicated significant time and effort to train and guide them, setting high expectations for success. At Mamelodi Sundowns, a winning culture is ingrained and the girls are fully aware of this. They understand the importance of approaching these competitions with utmost seriousness, recognizing that it serves as crucial preparation for the next stage of their careers,” said Mgcoyi.
Having lost out in the semi-finals of the competition last year, Coach Rhoda firmly believes that important lessons have been learned.
“We were unfortunate last year when we crashed out in the last four of the tournament. However, our expectations this time around have been set even higher as we aim to win the ultimate prize. We acknowledge the challenge that lies ahead as we face several teams competing in the SASOL league, known for their strength and competitiveness. To succeed, it will be crucial to score early and defend wisely, as these factors will play a significant role in determining the outcome of matches. As a development side, this tournament holds great importance for us as it provides an invaluable platform for our players to gain experience, showcase their abilities and further their growth in the sport,” Mulaudzi stated.
Goalkeeper Coach Koketso Tshabalala firmly believes that a tournament like the Engen Knockout Challenge plays a crucial role in enhancing the learning curve of young players.
“Facing strong teams in competitive tournaments such as these provide valuable prospects for young players to gauge their progress and measure themselves against high-quality opposition. Through these kinds of competitions, they can identify their strengths, work on their weaknesses and strive to reach higher standards of play. These experiences gained at a young age will prove beneficial as they continue their football journey and face even greater challenges in the future,” Coach Koketso said.
Coach Zanele also expressed her delight with the positive attitude in camp, “The girls are in an upbeat mood ahead of the tournament, and the spirit within the team is high. We do not anticipate easy games, and all they need to do is apply what they have learned in training. With the positive atmosphere and diligent preparation, the girls are eager to step onto the field and give their all.”
Last year, the young girls secured a third-place finish in the tournament, thanks to a convincing 4-0 victory over Rosina Sedibane in the Third Place Playoff match. Building on that result, the club’s youngsters will be eager to surpass that performance in the upcoming tournament this weekend.
We wish all our girls and boys success at the Engen Knockout Challenge.