Southern Times Writer
Tshwane – The group stages of the inaugural CAF Women’s Champion’s League will test the fitness levels of South African football side Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies FC to the limit.
Southern Africa’s sole representative at the inter-club continental showcase that will be contested in Cairo, Egypt on November 5–19, will play three matches in six days – a grueling challenge for any soccer club.
The eight teams participating in the championships have been divided into two groups of four with the top two in each mini-league progressing to the semi-finals.
Sundowns start the campaign against Kenyan outfit Vihiga Queens at the Military Stadium on November 6. Three days later, they face Rivers Angels of Nigeria at the same venue, before taking on Asfar Club from Morocco in on November 12.
Egyptian side Wadi Degla, AS Mande from Mali, Malabo Queens from Equatorial Guinea and Ghanaian outfit Hasaacas Ladies FC constitute the other group.
Sundowns, who qualified for the tournament following their 3–0 victory over Black Rhinos Queens of Zimbabwe in the final of the Cosafa Wualifiers in September, are hoping to write their own piece of history by wining the very first tournament of its kind in African women’s football.
However, they are well aware that the physical approach of Nigerian teams like Rivers Angels, and the tactical discipline of their Moroccan opponents, will make qualifying for a spot in the November 15 semi-finals a difficult task.
“This one is going to be tough because we will be playing against top teams from the continent. We don’t know anything about these teams and have never played them before,” Sundowns’ star striker Melinda Kgadiete told South African media this past week.
“We know that teams from North Africa are physically and tactically good but I believe in my team and we will be ready for them. We will do our best to bring the trophy home,” Kgadiete added. Much will be expected of Kgadiete and Andisiwe Mgcoyi, the two players who stood out for Sundowns at the Cosafa Qualifiers.