Sport

SOCCER

Sundowns Ladies once again the team to beat as Super League returns

Sundowns Ladies once again the team to beat as Super League returns
Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies celebrate winning the Hollywoodbets Super League in 2021. (Photo: Safa.net)

After a five-month hiatus, the first tier of women’s football in South Africa is set to resume until December 2022.

Following a memorable maiden season of the national league in its guise as the Hollywoodbets Super League during 2021, the second edition returns on Saturday, 23 April. Eight league matches are set to be played during the opening weekend.

The league now boasts 16 clubs (up from 14 last season) and action will get underway when Bloemfontein Celtic Ladies host newly-promoted Vasco Da Gama in the City of Roses, while the University of the Western Cape will travel to Gqeberha to face the other promoted team promoted from the second-tier Sasol League — City Lads Ladies.

Coal City Wizards will entertain the University of Johannesburg at Puma Stadium in Witbank, while Golden Ladies will kick their season off against Thunderbirds Ladies at the North West University in Mahikeng. Richmond United will travel to Johannesburg where JVW Ladies will host them. All the matches to be played on Saturday will kick off at 3pm.

JVW finished fourth during their debut season in the national league. In their sophomore season, the Johannesburg-based side has a new coach after parting ways with long-serving coach Ciara Picco. Mahama Musah Arthur has been roped in as her replacement, and the Ghana-born mentor is raring to work with the likes of Robyn Moodaly and Gabriela Salgado — who are both Banyana Banyana internationals.

“We have a really good group of players who all have one common goal, and that is to always be at your best. We are a work in progress, and I believe we have what it takes to look for a top finish spot,” said JVW’s new coach.

On Sunday, Limpopo side First Touch Ladies will host Tsunami Queens in the first match of the day at 11:30am. The afternoon clash will see Ma-Indies entertain reigning champions Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies.

Sundowns coach Jerry Tshabalala says his team will once again be formidable foes for any side wishing to topple them from their throne.

“I am very excited at the level of hunger the team has continued to display. I always tell the players that it is tougher to sustain success than to achieve success. We are embarking on a new season where we will be tested across several competitions,” said Tshabalala, whose side also emerged triumphant during the inaugural campaign of the Caf Women’s Champions League.  

Last season Masandawana were a cut above the rest, finishing a comfortable 14 points ahead of Tshwane rivals, Tshwane University of Technology (TUT). They also scored an eyewatering 87 goals from their 26 matches, and let in just 14. They have since bolstered an already impressive squad by signing players such as forward Miche Minnies from Vasco Da Gama, as well Gabonnelwe Kekana — who joined from TUT.   

“We desire that we keep executing our game plan on a match-by-match basis. The new players have hit the ground running and we are confident that they will improve our chances of retaining our titles in the upcoming season. Overall, the preseason preparations have gone according to plan and we are ready to display our resilience yet again,” added the tactician.

The Super League will run until the beginning of December 2022. At the end of this season, two teams will be relegated from the Super League and return to the Sasol League, while the two finalists at the end of the Sasol National Championships will be promoted to the top tier. Matches will continue to be broadcast by the SABC. DM

 

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