WATCH | Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies arrive home to a heroines' welcome after continental triumph
New Caf Women’s Champions League winners Mamelodi Sundowns received a raucous welcome from an appreciative crowd when they emerged at the arrival gates at OR Tambo International Airport on Sunday morning.
Sundowns Ladies stormed into the record books when they beat Hasaacas Ladies of Ghana 2-0 at the 30 June Stadium in Cairo, in Egypt, to become the inaugural Women’s Champions League winners on Friday.
The achievement matched the accomplishment of their male counterparts, who won the Champions League in 2016 under former coach Pitso Mosimane. This means Sundowns have become the first club on the continent to win both the men's and the women's Champions League titles.
The players walked out of the arrival gates to wild celebrations at the airport, with their continental trophy and winners' medals in tow. Members of the Sundowns men's side were also in attendance to celebrate the achievement of the newly crowned champions.
Ecstatic fans clad in the club's familiar yellow and blue colours had arrived as early as 5am on Sunday morning to welcome a team that has proudly flown the SA flag high while playing against some the best teams on the continent.
The fans created a festive atmosphere at the airport, which was draped in Sundowns colours, as they sang and beat drums in anticipation of the champions' arrivals.
Sundowns Ladies have now joined Spanish powerhouses Barcelona as the only teams to have won the men's and women's Champions League titles.
Barcelona women won their title when they beat Chelsea counterparts 4-0 to become the first club in history to win both the men's and the women's titles in May.
Sundowns began their march to the history books in the final on Friday when Chuene Morifi opened the scoring from close range after 32 minutes following a well-taken cross from Andisiwe Mgcoyi. The irrepressible Mgcoyi later helped herself to the goals when the provider turned goal scorer in the 64th minutes.
The game was in the bag after the second strike and the South Africans even survived the drama of a late red card after substitute Regina Mogolola was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Faustina Aidoo, who had been a handful during the match.
It is hoped that Sundowns' achievement will have a positive impact on the growth of the women's game in SA. Observers have urged all the local clubs in the Premier Soccer League to push to have women's teams in their ranks.
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