Sundowns Ladies Captains speak ahead of CAF Champions League
Aside from the winning mentality embedded within the Mamelodi Sundowns Football Club structures, one of the most distinct characteristics about the Ladies team has been their constant desire to inspire the next generation of women both in South Africa and beyond. The club has continuously been on the front foot when it comes to promoting women’s soccer to highly esteemed supporters and even potential young players.
Inspiring the next generation of young women
Just recently, the club acquired 15-year old wunderkind Lumka Qhekeka and her integration into the first team was seamless, to say the least. In what was her first-ever appearance for The Brazilians in the Hollywoodbets Super League, the teenage sensation scored a wonderful quick-fire brace as Banyana Ba Style dismantled Tsunami Queens at the Groenkloof Stadium by an imperious 7-0 scoreline. That marked the beginning of an era for the youngster whose confidence has soared high since that spectacular debut dazzle. Most recently, the Chloorkop side also acquired the services of the young and dynamic midfield duo of Sphesihle Magazi and Sinenhlanhla Nkosi who are also 15 years of age.
It is no coincidence that the calibre of female soccer talent that is currently emerging from South Africa is rising at an astronomical rate and Mamelodi Sundowns can take some credit for being a fertile ground in harnessing some of these young talents. Coach Agnes Nkosi recently expressed her excitement on how the club has created a solid structure upon which many role models have been born to help inspire the next generation of women in soccer and beyond.
As Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies prepare to represent not only South Africa but also the Southern region at the inaugural edition of the TotalEnergies CAF Women’s Champions League in Egypt, Captain Zanele Nhlapo believes her team is ready to inspire the younger generation of female footballers in South Africa.
“To be honest, we know that we are not only playing for ourselves in Egypt but also for the young girls out there who are looking up to us. We are very aware of this fact and that is why we are determined to excel at the competition. We want to continue to preach the essence of hard work, discipline and resilience to the next generation because these are some of the ingredients to achieving success. At the moment, we have a couple of 15-year olds in the team and they are looking up to the older members for guidance and direction. Therefore, as we play at the CAF Women’s Champions League, our mandate is to win and most importantly we are aiming to lay down a fine blueprint of success for the upcoming generation,” said Captain Nhlapo.
Looking to make history in Egypt
The maiden edition of the CAF Women’s Champions League is scheduled to commence on the 5th of November and will come to an end on the 19th of November. Captain Nhlapo’s team finds themselves in a mouth-watering Group B rubber which also features Kenyan side Vihiga Queens, ASFAR Club of Morocco and Nigeria’s Rivers Angels. Despite enjoying unrivalled success in the Hollywoodbets Super League in recent times including this season, the Skipper believes that playing on the continent brings a different dimension of quality not readily obtainable in the league.
“As a team, we know that the teams in the CAF Women’s Champions League are different from the opponents we face in the league. We are going to be facing some of the best women club sides across the African continent. Some of these teams are physically strong, tactically sound and technically gifted. However, as a team, we have a plan to be mentally and physically strong to be able to compete against these very solid teams. We are happy that we have done a very good job in the Hollywoodbets Super League, which gives us the impetus to be fully focused on the task at hand. We are in Egypt with the mindset of winning the title and we are braced up for the challenge,” concluded the Masandawana captain.
The Brazilians kick-start their continental campaign with a highly anticipated match-up against Kenya’s Vihiga on the 6th of November and Vice-Captain Karabo Makhurubetshi is confident of the team’s chances.
“The team has already created history by being part of the eight teams that will be doing battle in Egypt. By qualifying for the tournament without losing a single game means a lot to the team. We are fully aware that the spotlight is on us and we are ready to build on the records that we have achieved in recent times. We are looking to continue where we left off at COSAFA as well as in the Hollywoodbets Super League. Above all, we are looking to inspire the next generation of youngsters within the team and around South Africa and beyond.” said Vice-Captain Makhurubetshi.
Having ruthlessly dominated the Hollywoodbets Super League this season, Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies will be looking to stamp their authority on the continental front, with the CAF Women’s Champions League tournament being their best shot so far at establishing that reputation.
We are wishing our brilliant Ladies team the very best in Egypt!