SA’s Sundowns Ladies and Zimbabwe’s Black Rhinos Queens to clash for berth in inaugural CAF Women’s Champions League
Mamelodi Sundowns and Black Rhinos Queens will face off to determine who will represent southern Africa in the CAF Women’s Champions League at the end of 2021.
It started off with seven sides fighting it out for a place at the upcoming CAF Women’s Champions League. Now the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) region qualifier sees only two adversaries remaining to see who will book their ticket to Egypt for the inaugural continental club showpiece.
South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies will go head to head with Black Rhinos Queens of Zimbabwe after both vanquished their opponents in tough semifinal fixtures played on Thursday.
Sundowns edged Green Buffaloes from Zambia in their semifinal, with Melinda Kgadiete scoring the only goal just before halftime. Her header took her tally for the competition to five goals, making her the outright leading scorer at this stage, and on course for the golden boot. Her teammate Andisiwe Mgcoyi is not far behind though, having found the net on four occasions.
Sundowns had scored 18 goals in their three group matches, six in each, but found none of that potency against the well-organised Buffaloes’ defence. Though in truth the South Africans were also rarely troubled at the back with a defence that’s now only conceded once in four games.
“The game was really tough. From the first half. From the beginning, Buffaloes just sat back and that really frustrated us,” said Sundowns coach Agnes Nkosi. “I’m so happy that we were eventually able to penetrate [their defensive line] and get that single goal that we needed to book our spot in the final.”
The South African champions will face a similarly defensively resolute side in Rhinos, who booked their spot after early goals set them on the way to a 2-0 success over Double Action from Botswana.
The Zimbabweans have not been as lethal as Sundowns in front of goal, netting seven times in their three games to date. However, their rearguard is yet to be breached since the qualifiers began one week ago — a feat which saw Rhinos coach Kudakwashe Mutiwa lavish his players with praise after they reached the final.
“It’s very important for a team to have a defence which is well organised. The organisation was top level, as was the compactness — marshalled by my captain Talent Mandaza. I’m very happy,” said Mutiwa after their victory over Double Action.
If Sundowns harbour the hopes of being one of the eight sides that will be duelling each other for the title of African champions in late 2021, they will have to be at their sharpest and most clinical upfront.
The final will kick off at 2pm and should be an intriguing and tactical affair between what have been the two best teams in the competition.
It will be played behind closed doors in Durban and will be screened on SABC1 as well as on www.cosafa.tv. DM
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