After breezing through the group stages with a 100% record, Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies will aim to maintain their perfect streak as they face Morocco’s AS FAR in the semifinals on Wednesday.
The Brazilians started the tournament with a 2-0 victory over Tanzania’s JKT Queens, followed by a 1-0 win against Morocco’s SC Casablanca. They concluded the group stage with a commanding 3-0 victory over the host team, Athletico Abidjan, securing a flawless nine points from three games.
Despite cruising through the first three games without conceding a single goal, Regina Mogolola emphasizes that no opponent was an easy match.
“Our group stage fixtures were far from easy. Each of the three teams in our group came prepared with their Plan A and played with great determination to secure positive results. For example, our match against JKT Queens was particularly tough due to their physicality. Other teams employed various strategies, requiring us to constantly adapt our game to achieve results. Overall, the group stage provided valuable learning experiences, exposing us to a variety of tactics employed by our opponents,” Regina stated.
The Limpopo-born defender also emphasized that the upcoming game against AS FAR should not be viewed as a revenge match.
“We are not seeking revenge against them. Our primary focus is to stay grounded and play our football. Our purpose here is clear – to win the tournament. To achieve that, we must be prepared to face and triumph over every opponent we encounter. I recall Coach Jerry Tshabalala’s words in the locker room in Pretoria when we faced JVW at Lucas Moripe Stadium. He urged us to maintain humility and avoid overconfidence. Those team talks taught us valuable lessons and this time around, we will stay humble and strive for results that will take us to the next match, which is the final,” Mogolola concluded.
Captain Zanele Nhlapho believes that advancing through the group stage without conceding a single goal speaks volumes about the team’s resilience.
“We found ourselves in a challenging group because we had limited information about the teams we faced. Nevertheless, we are pleased that we managed to succeed. Ending the group stage with 9 points and no goals conceded demonstrates our dedication and hard work. When you score goals and don’t concede, winning games becomes easier,” Captain Zanele stated.
Nhlapho believes that Banyana Ba Style’s objective at the tournament goes beyond getting a result against a specific team.
“We can’t describe this game as revenge, but our collective goal is to win the tournament. Ultimately, it goes beyond the opponent we face and we are prepared to compete against any team, regardless of their identity. We have learned valuable lessons from last year’s defeat and the new players in our squad have contributed to our winning philosophy. The team spirit is high and every player within the team is determined to secure victory. We are eagerly anticipating the match against FAR,” added the Downs captain.
The game between Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies and AS FAR will take place on Wednesday, November 15th, at the Stade Amadou Gon Coulibaly in Korhogo, with kick-off set for 19:00 CAT.