Rude awakening for Celtic women in Champs opener

Jaime Lee Witbooi of UWC Ladies fights for the ball with Bloemfontein Celtic Ladies' Emily Moholoholo in the first day of Sasol League National Championships at Galeshewe , Kimberley, yesterday. / Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix
Jaime Lee Witbooi of UWC Ladies fights for the ball with Bloemfontein Celtic Ladies' Emily Moholoholo in the first day of Sasol League National Championships at Galeshewe , Kimberley, yesterday. / Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Defending champions Bloemfontein Celtic Ladies are in danger of elimination after their 3-0 thumping by University of Western (UWC) in the Sasol League National Championships opener at Galeshewe Stadium yesterday.

Having had to put in an impressive display to win the title in Mpumalanga last year, Celtic looked a shadow of their last campaign's self as UWC surprisingly made light work of the Free Staters.

Molatelo Kobo's brace and Khanya Xesi's strike handed the Capetonians the victory in the first match of this nine-team contest.

Phunya Sele Sele ladies are without their captain and star player Boitumelo Rabale, who moved to Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey, Illinois, in the US for a two-year athletic scholarship last August. The Lesotho-born ace was last year's Player of the Tournament.

Despite only arriving from Ghana on Sunday, Celtic threw Banyana Banyana trio of centre-back Bambanani Mbane, midfielders Melinda Kgadiete and Mohlakoana Kgaelebane straight into the starting line-up.

Mbane, 28, conceded fatigue played a role in their rather flat display, but the cucumber cool defender was optimistic they can still progress through to the quarterfinals.

They face Coal City Wizard of Mpumalanga in their second fixture tomorrow (1pm).

"Yes, some of us are still tired from Banyana but that shall not be an excuse. The team comes first and it's not about us. We will win all our remaining matches," Mbane, who started all Banyana games in the Africa Women's Cup of Nations, said.

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