African champions Sundowns Ladies shift focus to JVW as they bid to wrap up successive Super League title
African champions Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies will have to shelve any plans for a parade of their Caf Women’s Champions League crown and celebrate the historic achievement with their supporters in the nation’s capital as they shift focus to the defence of their Hollywood Super League title.
Fresh from conquering the continent after defeating Ghana’s Hasaacas Ladies 2-0 to win the inaugural Women’s Champions League crown in the Egyptian capital Cairo on Friday, Banyana Ba Style returned home on Sunday and received a welcome fit for queens at OR Tambo International airport in Kempton Park.
Sundowns Ladies returned to the training field on Tuesday to prepare for their Super League home match against JVW FC at Groenkloof Stadium in Tshwane at 3pm on Wednesday.
Jerry Tshabalala’s African conquerors are top of the Super League log on 61 points from 22 matches and lead second-placed Tshwane University of Technology, who have played two matches more, by six points.
JVW are further back in fourth place on 45 points from 23 matches.
“We have got four tough matches that are coming. We play JVW at home on Wednesday but I have already spoken with the team to say we have already achieved what we have wanted which is the Caf Women’s Champions League,” said Tshabalala.
“But now that that has come and gone, I told them that come Tuesday you have to train and refocus to the Hollywood Super League.”
Sundowns Ladies will be on the road to play University of the Western Cape and Richmond United in the Northern Cape in their next two matches as they chase a second successive Super League title.
“We want to sweep everything and we definitely want to defend our league title,” said Tshabalala.
“It is all about belief and when you instil that in your players you are capable of achieving anything.
“There is an incident that happened in Egypt [during the Caf Women’s Champions League]. After the first two games I said to my team that this is not the team that I know.
“I could tell that they have lost that belief that they can score goals. I reminded them that we are one of the best teams in Southern Africa, so we are here to show people that we are capable of that.”
The Sundowns Ladies won the inaugural Caf Women’s Champions League without conceding a single goal in their four matches in the tournament after 1-0 wins over Kenya’s Vihiga Queens and Rivers Angels from Nigeria, and a goalless draw against Morocco’s ASFAR in the group stages to advance to the semifinals as Group B winners.
The only downside is that they have only scored four goals, but Tshabalala said his team is used to scoring goals for fun and hopes that will be the case when they host JWC on Wednesday.
“Our group was a very difficult one. When you look at those teams they score a lot of goals but if you look at our team we are also a free-scoring team.
“We were not worried about our opponents. I believe our first two games could have been for the fact that we were a little bit worried about our opponents and I told them that let’s focus more on ourselves.
“That helped us a lot in the tournament but in the third game you could tell that the team is now starting to believe in itself again.
“One other thing is to share your planning with the players, to say maybe in the first round I want us to achieve certain number of points and that makes it easy for us as a team.”