Semi-final Spots Up for Grabs as Brazilians Gear up for Crunch Clash

Although Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies have been lauded for their attacking prowess, their defensive organisation has also been as impressive throughout this season. In the Hollywoodbets Super League, The Brazilians have the best defensive record this term, having shipped in just 11 goals (2 coming as a ruling against the Chloorkop side) in 22 games. Simply put, Coach Jerry Tshabalala has turned Masandawana into clean sheet merchants, blending a rigid, unflappable defensive structure with quick counterattacks centered on intricate passes sprinkled with rapid transitions.

That defensive robustness has become a significant aspect of the Banyana Ba Style at the inaugural edition of the TotalEnergies CAF Women’s Champions League in Egypt. Back-to-back 1-0 wins over Vihiga Queens and Rivers Angels means Sundowns remain the only country at the Land of Pharaohs who are yet to concede a single goal. While the defensive performance of Bambanani Mbane and Karabo Makhurubetshi has been applauded, it is Captain Zanele Nhlapho who has dazzled with class across the first two games. The highly influential captain has shown her impressive range of passing with both feet and has presented herself as a no-nonsense commander from the back. The super-composed Nhlapho further grabbed the winner against Rivers Angels, as she also proved that she is more than capable of doing the business further up the pitch.

Sundowns Ladies are currently top of Group B with six points, while Kenyan Vihiga Queens and Morocco’s ASFAR are tied on three points apiece with Nigeria’s Rivers Angels without a single point thus far. As The Brazilians prepare to face ASFAR in a crunch clash with semi-final places on the line, midfielder Lerato Kgasago is optimistic of the team’s chances.

“We are well prepared for the game against the Moroccans. Thankfully, Coach Jerry has outlined their weak areas and we are aiming to capitalise on them. We have been working very hard in training for this match because they are a very strong opponent. We will not take them for granted because they are also eyeing a place in the last four. The plan is to stick to our game plan and we hope to get the job done,” expressed Kgasago.

Despite the narrow wins recorded thus far at the tournament, Coach Tshabalala remains pleased with the overall performances of his troops. 

“In tournaments such as these, what counts the most is getting the victories and the maximum points when presented with the opportunity. The group is tough and every team still has a mathematical chance of qualifying for the last four. Despite the tight nature of the group, I am pleased that we are grinding out the results. As you can see, the level of competition so far in Egypt has been very high and free-scoring teams have struggled to score aplenty. What matters is that we are getting the points when necessary,” stated the highly experienced gaffer.

Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies will be looking to seal a historic place in the semi-final of the competition with a win or a draw against ASFAR at the El Salam Stadium in Cairo on Friday. Rivers Angels will also be hoping to get their first points when they face Vihiga Queens at The 30 June Stadium. Both games will be played simultaneously at 16h00.