We are Ready For the Continental Battle – Coach Jerry Tshabalala

Buoyed by their ruthless domestic performance this season, Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies are currently fine-tuning their preparations ahead of the fast-approaching inaugural edition of the 2021 TotalEnergies CAF Women’s Champions League to be staged in Cairo, Egypt. The maiden edition of the continent’s premier women’s tournament begins on 5 November with the final scheduled for 19 November.

Domestically, Banyana Ba Style has enjoyed a superlative season and is on the brink of winning the Hollywoodbets Super League title without tasting defeat for the second season running. The Brazilians have displayed free-flowing, attacking football all season which have yielded an impressive 70 strikes and are on course to smash the 82 goals scored in the league last season. While the team’s flamboyant attacking prowess has been lauded, the team’s defensive robustness has seen the team ship in just nine goals. Having conquered every challenge on the home front, the Chloorkop side is ready to battle it out against their counterparts from around the continent. 

Masandawana who will be representing the Southern African region in the maiden edition of the continental showpiece finds themselves in a highly competitive Group B alongside Kenyan side Vihiga Queens, ASFAR Club of Morocco and one of the tournament favourites, Rivers Angels from Nigeria. Hosts Wadi Degla are up against Mali’s AS Mandé, Ghana’s Hasaacas Ladies and Equatorial Guinean side Malabo Kings in a  mouth-watering Group A rubber. The top two teams from each group will progress to the knockout stage of the competition to fight for a place in the final.

As the team prepares to depart the country later this week, Head Coach Jerry Tshabalala speaks on the team’s readiness to extend their domestic dominance into the continental domain as they go head-to-head against some of the finest women teams on the continent. 

“The preparations are going very well. We are fortunate that the Hollywoodbets Super League season is still on as it gives us several opportunities to be match and tournament-ready in Cairo. Last week we played three games in a week and that went a long way in shaping our fitness and readiness for the competition. Most of those games were away and we were faced with different tactical styles and we showed our ability to adapt to various playing styles and we duly reaped the dividends. We are battle-ready to show our opponents what we are made of. It is the first time this competition will be taking place, and we are trying several tactics in training. During these sessions, we try to work on our mentality as that goes a long way in defining our characters on the pitch. We will be coming up against tactically sound teams in the competition. Therefore, we try to alter some of our tactical set-ups during our sessions to ensure that we are faced with zero surprises when we square off against our opponents in Egypt,” according to Coach Tshabalala.

The highly experienced tactician also spoke on the pressures facing his side as they prepare to represent not only South Africa but also the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

“We do not want to put ourselves under massive pressures. My plan is always to take the games one step at a time. We are fully aware that we are representing the nation of South Africa and also the Southern region, but we do not want to allow those feelings to get the better of us. We know what is expected of ourselves and we are going to Egypt to win every game that comes our way. If we do that, we can create even more history and further put Mamelodi Sundowns on the map of African football and beyond,” concluded Coach Tshabalala.

The Brazilians will clash against Kenya’s Vihiga in their opening encounter of the continental showpiece on 6 November. Three days later, Banyana Ba Style face Rivers Angels before wrapping up the group phase with a showdown against ASFAR on 12 November.

We wish our Ladies team all the best as they prepare to make more history.