Sundowns Ladies switches attention to CAF Women’s Champions League COSAFA Qualifiers

Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies will be aiming to clinch qualification for this year’s CAF Women’s Champions League as they compete in the COSAFA Qualifiers, which start in eThekwini from August 30th to September 8th.

Unlike the last two years, which saw the Brazilians qualify automatically, only one team from COSAFA can qualify for the continent’s premier women’s tournament this year. Coach Jerry Tshabalala believes his team is well-equipped to compete in this pressure-filled situation.

“In every competition we participate in, pressure is a constant factor due to our exceptionally high standards, as our team is driven by a desire to win consistently. I am genuinely pleased with our ability to excel even when facing such pressure. We are expecting quick turnarounds and minimal recovery time in the upcoming weeks, with the likelihood of playing two games per week, which will make things very challenging. Nevertheless, our team is well-prepared for these hectic schedules and our focus is on getting the job done when it matters the most, Coach Jerry stated.

Lelona Daweti who finished with four goals at last year’s CAF Women’s Champions League believes that there are no pushovers at this year’s COSAFA qualifiers.

“Women’s football is currently experiencing growth, not only in Africa but globally. This growth is attributed to significant investments that are being made, resulting in enhanced player performance, as demonstrated in the recently concluded FIFA Women’s World Cup. The COSAFA tournament will indeed pose a challenge, considering that teams have strengthened their squads and are determined to qualify for the continental competition. The era of singling out a dominant team has passed as things have changed. Our focus at this point is on securing qualification for the CAF Champions League and reclaiming the regional title,” says Daweti.

Banyana Ba Style is set to face Olympic de Moroni of Comoros on Thursday and Andile Dlamini believes that the reigning Hollywoodbets Super League champions need to be at their best to avoid unexpected outcomes.

“We fully recognize that every team will be determined in their efforts to secure the COSAFA ticket. We understand that no game will be a walkover and qualifications won’t come without dedicated effort. We are ready for the challenges that lie ahead and we are approaching the task with the utmost seriousness, leaving no room for complacency. Our motivation goes beyond personal interests; we are playing not only for ourselves but also for the Yellow Nation Family and our nation as a whole,” Andile declared.

Tiisetso Makhubela believes that last year’s final defeat to Zambia’s Green Buffaloes on penalties will serve as an extra motivation for Sundowns Ladies.

“We found ourselves in an unfamiliar position last year and everyone is determined to avoid a repeat of that. We need to start the competition well and finish strong, as that will be the only way to qualify for the CAF Champions League,” Tiisetso stated.

Coach Jerry’s team is placed in Group B alongside Olympic De Moroni (Comoros), Costa Do Sol (Mozambique) and Young Buffaloes (Eswatini). Group A comprises Green Buffaloes (Zambia), Double Action Ladies (Botswana), Lesotho Defence Force (Lesotho) and Ntopwa FC (Malawi).

The Brazilians have never lost a group game at the COSAFA Qualifiers since its inception in 2021, winning four out of five games, scoring 27 goals and conceding just three times. The 1-1 draw in the group stage against Botswana’s Double Action Ladies last year was the only instance when Sundowns Ladies did not secure a victory in a group stage game.

The match between Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies and Olympic de Moroni is scheduled to take place on Thursday, August 31st, at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Durban. The kick-off is set for 15h30.