NELSPRUIT – The 2016 winners of the Sasol League National Championships, Bloemfontein Celtic Ladies, sent a strong message of their intentions to retain their trophy by dismantling Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies in the opening match.
Celtic taught Sundowns a lesson with a 3-0 win at Kabokweni Stadium on Monday. Banyana ba Style came into this match confident with the mind-set that they would easily brush Celtic aside.
But the eight-time Free State champions were disciplined and tactically superior which saw them cruise to victory.
While Sundowns had the most possession, Celtic were the most effective. Goals from Emily Moholoholo and a brace by captain Boitumelo Rabale, both from penalties, sees Celtic topping Group C after day one.
“We know Sundowns very well, having played them several times, they like knocking the ball around and they don’t have pace,” Celtic coach Edwin ‘Motale’ Lisene said.
“We decided to stay behind the ball, win it and then hit them with a fast counter-attack. It worked for us because our three goals came from the counter-attack. I have to applaud my players for their discipline. I told them that even though we are the defending champions, we shouldn’t be big-headed. We had to be disciplined.
“They (Sundowns) came with the spirit that we are going to beat Celtic. But we came with cool and calm heads. That’s how we managed to beat the team called Sundowns.”
Sundowns were rattled by Celtic which saw coach Jerry Tshabalala make two changes in the first half. Tshabalala has to bring his players to earth for their must-win match on Tuesday against Limpopo champions Kanatla.
“I would say that I am a little bit disappointed,” Tshabalala said.
“We had them in the first 10 minutes but then we brought them into the game by taking our foot off the pedal. We were sleeping at the back. We need to come back strong against Kanatla by putting on a good fight to show that we are deserving Gauteng champions.”
The hosts, Coal City Wizards, thumped a helpless Northern Cape side RC Mills 6-0. Braces from Roseline Hadebe and Neo Mzaza along with a goal apiece by Thobile Nhleko and Jane Mnisi entertained the home crowd that came here.
KwaZulu-Natal champions, Sunflower FC, started their campaign with an entertaining display in their 4-1 win over De Scorpions from North West. Twins and national Under-17 members, Sphumelele with a brace and Thubelihle Shamase found the back of the net along with Ntombifikile Ndlovu.
The Scorpions’ solitary goal came from Lerato Leebone. Sunflower FC ran rings around Scorpions.
The KZN side started strong in their debut of the championships that pits the nine provincial winners against each other for the honour of being South African champions which comes with a R200 000 cheque.
The #CelticLadies team won 3-0 vs @Masandawana Ladies in the opening match of the 2017 #SasolLeague National Championship. Boitumelo Rabale was the Diski Queen. She scored a brace & Emily Moholoholo scored the other. #SiweleleSaMasele pic.twitter.com/1aVuyasXdH
Bloemfontein Celtic Ladies (Free State) 3-0 Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies (Gauteng)
Diski Queen of the Match: Boitumelo Rabale (Celtic)
Coal City Wizards (Mpumalanga) 6-0 RC Mills (Northern Cape)
Diski Queen of the Match: Thabisile Thaga (Wizards)
De Scorpions (North West) 1-4 Sunflower FC (KwaZulu-Natal)
Diski Queen of the Match: Nelisiwe Luthuli (Sunflower)
RC Mills (North West) vs Thunderbirds (Eastern Cape) – 10h30
Sunflower FC (KwaZulu-Natal) vs Cape Town Roses (Western Cape) – 13h00
Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies (Gauteng) vs Kanatla (Limpopo) –15h30
* Njabulo Ngidi is in Nelspruit courtesy of Sasol.