Sundowns Ladies will be aiming to kickstart their CAF Women’s Champions League campaign with a positive result as they face Tanzania’s JKT Queens on Sunday.
Both teams are placed in Group A, which also includes tournament debutants Athlético Abidjan and Moroccan side Sporting Club Casablanca.
The Brazilians enter the continent’s premier tournament as COSAFA qualifiers champions, thanks to their masterful performance that saw them score 21 goals and concede just one en route to their second regional title in three years.
On the other hand, their opponents qualified through a tense penalty shootout victory over Ethiopia’s Commercial Bank during the CECAFA regional qualifiers.
Midfielder Oratile Mokwena believes the team is fully motivated after last year’s defeat in the final.
“We lost the title at the last hurdle last year and we are determined to avoid a repeat of such a situation. That is our motivating factor as we prepare for our opening game. We have analyzed our mistakes from last year and are working tirelessly to improve. This tournament is a new opportunity for us to showcase what we have learned from the last edition as well as the COSAFA Championship. We are aware that other teams have been observing our game closely, so we cannot afford to be complacent. We need to bring our A-game to every match and stay focused on our goal,” Mokwena stated.
Captain Zanele Nhlapho reiterates what the competition means to Banyana Ba Style, saying, “This tournament means a lot to us and we have been winners in the past, so we know what it means to be victorious. The expectations among us are high because we lost last year’s final and we are determined to exceed last year’s performance. Mentally, we are ready for the competition and as a collective, we are ready to excel.”
Captain Nhlapho also highlighted how the CAF Women’s Champions League has improved the quality of the women’s game on the continent. She stated, “The exposure and opportunities provided by this tournament have allowed many talented players to showcase their skills on a continental and even global stage. It is not only about winning titles but also about inspiring the next generation of female footballers and creating a pathway for them to pursue professional careers in the sport. The influx of new teams has also contributed to the growth and competitiveness of women’s football on the continent,” Zanele added.
The game between Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies and JKT Queens will take place on Sunday, November 5th, at the Stade Amadou Gon Coulibaly in Korhogo, with kick-off set for 22:00 CAT.