Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies face Sporting Club Casablanca in the CAF Women’s Champions League Final this Sunday. Both teams met in the second Group A match, with Banyana Ba Style winning 1-0 thanks to Melinda Kgadiete’s header.Coach Jerry Tshabalala believes the fixture will require an all-hands-on-deck approach, “It is going to be a tricky game because we have seen how they play during our first meeting during the group stage and we saw how they played against Ghana’s Ampem Darkoa. However, we have to focus on ourselves as well as our strengths because, at the end of the day, our attitude to the game and the application of ourselves will be the determining factor.”
Coach Tshabalala’s record at the continent’s premier women’s tournament is super impressive. The Downs gaffer has led Banyana Ba Style to three straight finals. His team has kept an impressive 12 clean sheets in 14 games to date, scoring 23 goals at 1.64 goals per game. The Brazilians have also won 11 games in open play from those 14 games, more than any other team.
When asked about the disappointment at last year’s final, the Downs coach stated, “What happened last year is in the past and lessons have been learned.
We are not going to be overconfident in any way, but we have to treat the game with the utmost caution because they will also bring their A-game. We don’t want to be disappointed again and we want to end the game victorious.
The final on Sunday presents the Sundowns Ladies with a chance to follow in the footsteps of their male counterparts, who recently beat a Moroccan side, Wydad Casablanca, to win the African Football League (AFL). Coach Jerry believes his team is ready to draw inspiration from the incredible feat achieved by Bafana Ba Style.
“We are hoping that what the men have achieved will serve as inspiration to us and not as pressure. We are here for our mission, they were there for their mission in which they were successful. It’s up to us to also accomplish our mission, which is to win the CAF Women’s Champions again. We plan to stick to our playing style, respect our opponents and do what we need to do to secure the trophy,” Coach Tshabalala added.
When asked about the tactical battles he has witnessed so far in the competition, the Masandawna coach stated, “Tactically, we are not invisible as you see many teams have studied the way we play. There were times we were tested and teams have mastered the way we play, but we try to be inventive and create goal-scoring opportunities. So we believe in our tested and trusted system, which has brought us so much success.”
Refilwe Tholakele is currently the joint top scorer in this year’s competition with three goals. She needs one more goal to match Lelona Daweti’s tally of four goals which was scored in last year’s competition.
The game between Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies and Sporting Club Casablanca will take place on Sunday at the Stade Amadou Gon Coulibaly in Korhogo, with kick-off set for 22:00 CAT.