Sundowns Ladies riding high after lifting CAF Champions League trophy
After being crowned champions of the CAF Champions League after a 3-0 comprehensive victory over Sporting Casablanca on Sunday and without conceding a goal the entire tournament, Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies coach Jerry Tshabalala credited their achievement to the amount of work they did behind the scenes.
Sundowns scored 10 goals in the tournament and didn't concede in all the matches they played as they went on to win their second title in three years.
They also emulated the men's side, who won the African Football League (AFL) title recently.
On Sunday evening in the final at Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium in Korhogo, Ivory Coast, Banyana Ba Style were impressive as they thumped the Moroccan side following a brace from Botswana international Refilwe Tholakele and the other by Boitumelo Rabale of Lesotho.
Sundowns also became the first team to win the tournament twice, having won it first in 2021 and Tshabalala was full of praise for his side's showing.
"The first one, we won the tournament without conceding. The second time, we won the tournament without conceding. I'm really happy. I would not say we were stronger than other teams," Tshabalala told the media during the post-match press conference.
"But I think we were well prepared. Honestly speaking, I was not expecting my girls to keep the same intensity that we started the game with. If you look at the first 20 minutes, we needed to suffocate them with high intensity.
"The reason being that we know that they played extra time and went to penalties in the semifinal and chances are that they will be tired.
"So, I think that really worked for us. But in terms of the girls bringing more energy from the tank, I think it goes back to the training sessions that we have been having.
"Our training sessions have been very light. They were not that demanding. The girls could recuperate as early as possible."
With Tshabalala also nominated for the Coach of the Year award in the CAF nominees, he hopes this success will be enough to see him win it.
"It's my second time in a row now being nominated. I'm just hoping that this time around, I will bring it home. But awards are just appreciation of your good work," he said.
"We want to keep on doing good. We are hoping soon, Fifa will target the Club World Cup, that's a bigger vision for us.
"Hopefully, if they announce it earlier or next year, we will still be the champions and will go and represent."
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