Sundowns kickstart title defence in style

Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies defeated Nigerian outfit Bayelsa Queens 2-1 in Morocco. The Sundowns Ladies team came into the tournament with a full strength squad that consisted of AFCON winners Melinda Kgadiethe, Thalea Smidt, Bambanani Mbane and Africa’s 2022 goalkeeper of the year, Andile Dlamini.

Andile Dlamini Picture: Muzi Ntombela BackpagePix

The Sundowns team won the first edition of the tournament without conceding a goal, and their style of play was widely appreciated across the continent. Sundowns’ coach Jerry Tshabalala had missed the previous tournament because he didn’t have the necessary qualifications to sit on the bench as per CAF requirements, but the husky voiced mentor was ready to lead from his bench this time around.

The newcomers in the tournament, Bayelsa Queens, were no pushovers. The West African champions gave Sundowns a tough challenge in the beginning of the match, until the experience of Sundowns rose above the challenge in the 16th minute, to open the scoring through attacker Lelona Daweti.

The diminutive midfielder, Daweti, scored her second goal in the 56th minute to give Masandawana a healthy 2-0 lead. Jerry Tshabalala introduced veteran striker Andisiwe Mgcoyi, who scored in the previous final, to kill off the game, and she quickly settled in to create a good opportunity for Daweti to make it a hat trick, but was denied by brilliant goalkeeping.

The Prosperity Girls of Nigeria pulled one back in the 82nd minute as Sundowns failed to clear off their lines to concede their first goal after 532 minutes of CAFWCL.