Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies also gunning for African crown in Champions League

Zanele Nhlapho of Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies celebrates a victory after 2023 CAF Womens Champions League semi-final against AS FAR.

Zanele Nhlapho of Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies celebrates a victory after 2023 CAF Womens Champions League semi-final against ASFAR. Picture: Samuel Shivambu / BackpagePix

Published Nov 17, 2023


The Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies team have a chance to follow in the footsteps of their male counterparts and beat a Moroccan side in a final of a major African competition.

The Brazilians sealed their spot in the CAF Champions League final, their third in a row, on Wednesday night after beating defending champions AS Far 1-0 in the semi-final in Korhogo, Ivory Coast.

It was a deserving win for “Banyana ba Style” over their Moroccan counterparts as they are now all but favourites to win the African crown for the second time in three finals.

Sundowns have scored seven goals across four matches in the competition, while goalkeeper Andile Dlamini is yet to concede a goal.

Standing in their way in the final at the Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium in Korhogo on Sunday night are another Moroccan side, Sporting Club Casablanca. Kick-off is at 10pm, SA time.

A win for Sundowns would see them become the first women’s team on the continent to win the Champions League twice.

Add to that the fact that Sundowns would have beaten a Moroccan outfit for a major African title for the second time in a week – Sundowns’ men’s team beat Wydad Casablanca in the African Football League final last weekend.

Sundowns Ladies coach Jerry Tshabala was all smiles after his team’s win in Korhogo, lauding the experience of Banyana internationals like Andile Dlamini, Kholisa Biyana and Karabo Dhlamini.

“With the players who are coming from the national team, they add a lot of value. And that’s because of the experience they get in major competitions,” he said.

“They play with players who are playing at the highest level. When you look at the team of AS FAR, they have 10 to 11 players playing in the Moroccan national team.

“And that, more or less, means that we are Sundowns playing against the Moroccan national team. But the little experience that we have makes a huge difference.”

The experience of the Banyana Banyana players – who won the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations title and finished in the round of 16 in the 2023 World Cup – came in handy.

But kudos should go to Tshabalala, who mastered the tactics over his AS Far counterpart Mohamed Amine Alioua to secure a victory with Boitumelo Rabale’s solitary goal.

“I did say before that the team that will come out with the best tactics today will come out victorious. But honestly, they are on the good side tactically,” Tshabalala said modestly.

“They started with a 4-5-1 formation, and then they realised we nullified their top player, Fatima Tagnout. They also brought in (Mafia) Nyame, who’s pacy.

“And when they realised that we are playing a 3-4-3 formation, they also changed the system. If you have a coach who can change three systems in one game, then he’s good.”

But while the match was won on the pitch, Sundowns received a lot of support from the people of Korhogo – so much so that they chanted “goal! goal! goal!” before Rabale struck.

And having the Sundowns men’s team also come to these parts of Ivory Coast on their African journey, playing teams such as ASEC Mimosa, Tshabalala claims the club is loved in the country.

“There’s one thing I like about the people of Korhogo – the people of Korhogo love Mameodi Sundowns and support football,” Tshabalala explained.

“That shouting gave us that motivation – we are loved here in Korhogo. We love the people of Korhogo, and we want to give back to the people of Korhogo.

“We really thank them for their support. We’ve still got one game to play, so we are pleading with them to come out and support Mamelodi Sundowns.”