More awards roll in as Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies celebrate International Women’s Day

March 8th, is recognized as International Women’s Day, a significant global celebration that recognizes the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women throughout history and across all fields.

It is a day to honour the progress that has been made toward gender equality and to raise awareness of the work that still needs to be done to ensure that all women and girls can reach their full potential. The theme for this year is #EmbraceEquity.

The build-up to this unique day was particularly special for Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies, who dominated the third annual Gauteng Women in Sports Awards at the Kyalami Country Club in Johannesburg.

Goalkeeper Andile Dlamini was named Sportswoman of the Year after playing a crucial role as Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies clinched the Hollywoodbets Super League title for the third year in a row last year. The Johannesburg-born shot-stopper was also part of the Banyana Banyana side that famously clinched the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) in Morocco and was named ‘Goalkeeper of the Tournament’.

Coach Jerry ‘Kappa’ Tshabalala was named Coach of the Year while Mamelodi Sundowns was named Team of the Year, further cementing their dominance in the Hollywoodbets Super League and their commitment to the advancement of women’s soccer.

Kappa described the importance for men in leadership positions within sports organizations to advocate for gender equality and inclusivity.

“As leaders in the sports industry, it’s crucial for us to rally behind women and support them in every area of the game. Women have proven their high level of competence across various sporting codes, and it’s time for us to recognize their talents and give them equal opportunities to succeed. Therefore, it’s our responsibility to advocate for gender equality and create a more inclusive environment in sports organizations, where everyone can thrive and achieve their full potential, regardless of gender. By working together to promote diversity and inclusivity in sports, we can create a more equitable and just society for all,” said Coach Jerry. 

The Coach of the Year also highlighted several ways in which he has continued to support and empower women under his tutelage.

“I have been involved with the team for the past 12 years, during which I have built and rebuilt several championship-winning squads that have excelled both domestically and internationally. As a coach, I believe in empowering my players and encouraging them to pursue their passions beyond the field. That’s why I’ve supported several of my players in embarking on coaching courses to further develop their knowledge of the game. Today, some of these players are already coaching and inspiring the next generation of athletes. It’s crucial to have more women in leadership positions in sports because they bring unique perspectives, insights and experiences that can benefit the entire sports industry,” Kappa stated.

On what changes are needed to improve the future of women’s sports, Captain Zanele Nhlapho said, “I believe that women footballers should receive more exposure and opportunities to improve their knowledge of the game. I strongly advocate for equal pay because both genders are equally important in the game, and their contribution should be recognized and rewarded equally. It’s time to challenge the myth that men are superior in sports and give women’s games the same attention and respect they deserve. I’m proud to be associated with Mamelodi Sundowns, which has been instrumental in promoting gender equality and providing opportunities for women to obtain the right qualifications and licenses. I hope that more football clubs will follow their lead and recognize the value of women in sports. Women have proven time and time again that they have what it takes to succeed in sports, and it’s time for the world to acknowledge their contributions and give them the recognition they deserve.”

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day, it’s crucial to recognize and appreciate the efforts of Mamelodi Sundowns, who have consistently championed the cause of women in sports. The club’s commitment to empowering women is evident not just on this special day but regularly, as they continue to invest in the development of women’s soccer in South Africa and beyond. 

By breaking down gender barriers and challenging traditional norms, the club is inspiring a new generation of female athletes to pursue their passions and achieve their goals. 

On this International Women’s Day, let us all take a moment to appreciate the work being done by Mamelodi Sundowns and commit to working together toward a more equal and just society.