Defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies will be aiming to reach the final of the CAF Women’s Champions League for the second year in a row as they clash against Tanzania’s Simba Queens on Wednesday.
The Brazilians emerged as Group B winners thanks to a 2-1 over Nigeria’s Bayelsa Queens, which was followed by a 5-0 crushing of Egypt’s Wadi Degla. The last group game saw Banyana Ba Style put 4 unanswered goals past Congo’s TP Mazembe to finish Group B with a perfect record.
Up next for the reigning champions is a semi-final clash against Simba Queens, a battle Coach Jerry ‘Kappa’ Tshabalala is relishing.
“The preparations are going very well for what we consider a very tricky encounter against a team that has proven very formidable. They are a very solid side with strong players who upset some of the favorites in Group A, therefore, they cannot be taken for granted. The knockout phase is quite different from the group stages because the pressures are on a different level. Nevertheless, we are ready to leave it all on the pitch against our opponents,” Kappa stated.
On the pressures to defend the continental title, Coach Jerry stated that “I am constantly happy with my team because they are always capable of delivering the goods despite the mounting pressures. We are aware that several teams are aiming to dethrone us, but through hard work and determination, we have been able to keep our heads down and focus on our strengths to win games.”
Goalkeeper Andile ‘Sticks’ Dlamini who was part of the Banyana Banyana side that clinched their first-ever Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, also praised the mood of the dressing room ahead of the semi-final clash.
“The vibes in the dressing room are very positive as everyone is relishing the opportunity of facing a team who has impressed on their debut. We are a very positive bunch of players, and we know why we are in Morocco. A tough encounter awaits us, and we are ready to showcase our qualities yet again,” Andile stated.
Andile also praised the growth of women’s football on the continent considering the quality of teams in Morocco.
“The competition has lived up to the hype courtesy of the quality players and teams. Last year in Egypt, we saw some very exciting teams, but that quality has been surpassed in Morocco which is a good thing for women’s football. The atmosphere here has been incredible, and we are happy to be part of the growth of the game,” Dlamini concluded.
Simba Queens, winners of the 2022 CECAFA tournament suffered an opening 1-0 defeat to AS FAR in Group A but bounced back with back-to-back 2-0 wins over Liberia’s Determine Girls and Zambia’s Green Buffaloes to finish as runners-up to hosts AS FAR.
The match between Sundowns Ladies and Tanzania’s Simba Queens will take place on Wednesday, the 9th of November, at Stade Moulay Hassan, Rabat. The kick-off time for the fixture is 18h00 (SAST).
The other semi-final will see Hosts AS FAR square off against Nigeria’s Bayelsa Queens.