The sun rises for Sundowns

Abeer Anwar , Tuesday 23 Nov 2021

South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns were crowned champions of the inaugural African Women’s Champions League, reports Abeer Anwar

The sun rises for Sundowns
Sundowns celebrating

South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns won the inaugural African Women’s Champions League following their 2-0 triumph over Ghana’s Hasaacas Ladies in Cairo on Friday 19 November.

Sundowns vs Hasaacas

Goals by Chuene Morifi and Andisiwe Mgcoyi ensured victory over Hasaacas Ladies as Mamelodi Sundowns lifted the continental competition at 30 June Stadium.

“I was afraid we were not clinical enough, but today we were marvelous. I’m very happy of my girls,” Jerry Tshabalala, Mamelodi Sundowns coach, commented on the victory.

“I spoke to Mgcoyi and told her that she needs to bring it to the party, and that’s what she did. I’m proud of her and the whole team.

“I saw how Hasaacas Ladies played before. I needed to press them with three strikers. Lucky enough, they are not taller than us. We had confidence playing our football, and we frustrated Hasaacas Ladies even though they played good football.

“We came to this tournament and saw the level of competition. I assure you next time, it will be even tougher.

“We are the first team to win the WCL and we did it without conceding a goal,” Tshabalala said.

“When we won COSAFA and qualified to the WCL, I wanted to be in the winning team,” Mamelodi Sundowns forward and woman of the match Mgcoyi said.

“I thank God for all of this. I was so stressed today when I woke up, because I was worried I couldn’t help my team from the beginning of the tournament. Also my coach needed me to help the team; this means so much to us. We wrote our history. They will not remember Mgcoyi, they will remember Mamelodi Sundowns.

“To be the first team that wins WCL is huge. Women’s football is growing in Africa, and it’s a good thing for us to be role models for young girls,” Mgcoyi said.

While Mamelodi Sundowns claimed top honours, five-star reviews on a number of teams and players were given during the competition. 

The Best XI were listed from the three best teams in the tournament: Mamelodi Sundowns, Hasaacas Ladies and ASFAR Club (Morocco), who respectively finished first, second and third.

Andile Dlamini was chosen as the best of the tournament. The South African did not concede a goal in three appearances for Sundowns, completing the heroics of her teammate Asa Rabalao who was chosen the best goalkeeper in the group stage.

In central defence, Hasaacas Ladies captain Janet Eygir and Mamelodi Sundowns captain Zanele Nhlapho got the nod. Joining them at left back was Perpetual Agyekum (Hasaacas Ladies) and Bambanani Mbane (Mamelodi Sundowns) on the right. 

In midfield, ASFAR’s Fatima Dahmos and Ghizlane Chebbak got the nod together with Evelyn Badu (Hasaacas Ladies) who also finished top scorer and best player of the tournament. 

Up front, Fatima Tagnaout (ASFAR), Doris Doaduwaa (Hasaacas Ladies) and Sanaa Mssoudy (ASFAR) made up the trio in attack.

*A version of this article appears in print in the 25 November, 2021 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.

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